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Soul Satisfying Spaghetti Carbonara With Brussels Sprout Leaves

Spaghetti Carbonara With Brussels Sprouts

On a cool evening earlier this week, I was craving a comforting but easy dinner. I already had Brussels sprouts on my brain and was thinking about how good they’d be if I separated them into leaves and sautéed them with bacon and tossed them with a few toasted bread crumbs. Not exactly a meal, but fortunately I also had some Parmesan and eggs in the refrigerator and spaghetti in the pantry and realized I had the makings of Spaghetti Carbonara. A perfect place for my Brussels sprouts leaves I thought.

Brussels Sprouts

While Spaghetti Carbonara is very simple dish, its success is all about timing because the pasta needs to be hot when the eggs are added so they cook. To accomplish this I like to get the pasta water boiling and then reduce the heat until I’m ready to add the pasta. When I’m about 11 minutes out from adding the egg to the pasta, I bring the water back to a boil and cook the pasta. And that is the only trick to this soul satisfying dish.

Cooking bacon

Cooking Brussels Sprouts


  • 1 lb of spaghetti
  • 8 pieces thick cut smoky bacon
  • 1 ½ cups of packed Brussels sprouts leaves
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan Reggiano
  • 1 cup toasted herbed bread crumbs*
  • Fresh thyme 3 sprigs for sauce + 1 TBSP for bread crumbs
  • Sea salt
  • Ground black pepper


  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil for the spaghetti. Once water comes to a boil add pasta and cook until almost done according to package instructions. Drain and retain about ½ cup of the pasta water separately to thin your sauce once pasta is done. Note, time your pasta so that you pull it just before you are adding it the egg mixture to it, so the heat of the pasta cooks the eggs.
  • Cut the bacon crosswise into ¼ inch bits and cook on medium low to desired crispiness in a large stainless steel skillet. Remove bacon bits with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
  • While the bacon is cooking remove leaves from about 6 Brussels sprouts. Start by removing outer leaves, cut off stem and then remove core. Remaining leaves should come apart easily.
  • Pour off all but a couple of tablespoons to coat the skillet and sauté Brussels sprouts leaves several minutes until leaves begin to soften and crisp in a few places, but still are bright green. Add salt to taste as sautéing. Remove from pan.
  • While Brussels sprouts are sautéing beat eggs in a bowl and stir in finely grated Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add a tablespoon or so of the bacon grease (or olive oil) back to the pan and deglaze pan with a dry white wine and scrape the caramelized bacon from the bottom of the pan and add 3 sprigs of thyme. Reduce down.
  • Add spaghetti to pan and toss. Remove pan from heat and add egg mixture. The heat of the pasta should cook the eggs. Stir in hot pasta water to thin sauce as needed. Season with salt and ground pepper to taste.
  • Toss in the Brussels sprouts and bacon and some of the herbed breadcrumbs, grate additional Parmesan on top if desired.
  • * To prepare breadcrumbs use spare bread parts. Process until coarse, sprinkle in sea salt and chopped thyme. Toast in olive oil until golden and crunchy.
Dana Wilde grew up playing “sous chef” for her father as he churned out one amazing meal after the next for family and friends. She inherited her father’s life long passion for cooking and has spent the past two decades studying, reading, practicing, experimenting, and creating in the kitchen.
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