Orecchiette is an easy one pot pasta dish that you can get on the table fast! Bacon, brussel sprouts, and orecchiette pasta are tossed in a quick creamy sauce to create delicious dish.
What is Orecchiette?
Orecchiette is pasta in the size and shape of tiny saucers and translates to “small ears”.
The indented shape cups and holds sauces and anything it is cooked with, making it ideal for combining with other ingredients. As you cook orecchiette, the starches also slightly thicken and meld with the sauce it’s in to produce a wonderful creaminess.
Prepping Brussels Sprouts
For this recipe the brussels sprouts are thinly sliced and pan fried in a bit of bacon fat. I use a knife to cut them but you can also use a mandolin.
Some grocery stores sell shaved/sliced brussels for brussel sprout salad or slaw. Those will work great in this recipe.
How to Make Orecchiette and Brussel Sprouts
This dish comes together in no time flat, it really as easy as 1, 2, 3!
- Cook pasta and bacon (see recipe below).
- Reserve the bacon fat to cook sliced brussel sprouts.
- Add broth, wine and cream and briefly simmer.
Other Delicious Additions
- Vegetables: Lots of other vegetables can be used instead of, or in addition to the brussel sprouts. Try shredded broccoli florets (or broccoli slaw), or broccoli rabe. Sundried tomatoes provide it some welcome tartness and texture. Chopped zucchini or yellow squash are other terrific options.
- Cheese: Bump up the flavors with grated cheese such as parmesan, romano and asiago.
- Meat: Turn orecchiette with brussels sprouts into a one-pot meal by adding meat. It’s a terrific way to use up and stretch any poultry or meat left over from last night’s dinner. Diced chicken, ham or Italian sausage are excellent choices.
The Best Sides for Orecchiette
Serve orecchiette with brussels sprouts with cheesy pull apart garlic rolls or 30 minute rolls. A zesty tossed cucumber tomato salad or a simple tossed salad with balsamic vinaigrette can also complete the meal.
Delicious and easy orecchiette with brussel sprouts is a filling and flavor packed dish that’s sure to satisfy your family.
More Creamy Pastas
- Creamy Chicken Fajita Pasta – great to freeze!
- Garlic Shrimp Pasta – light yet hearty meal!
- One Pot Pasta with Chicken – flavorful one-pot meal
- Cajun Chicken Pasta – ready in under 30 mins
Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts
- 8 oz orecchiette pasta
- 8 oz brussels sprouts
- 4 slices bacon chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
- parsley for garnish optional
- 1/2 lemon optional
- Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain while reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
- With a sharp knife or mandoline, slice brussels sprouts very thinly.
- Cook bacon over medium heat until browned and crisp. Remove from pan and set aside reserving drippings. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in white wine and chicken stock. Simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in lemon zest and heavy cream. Simmer 5 additional minutes. Add brussels sprouts and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese and cook for 2 minutes. Add pasta and heat through (add pasta water if needed).
- Season with salt & pepper to taste. Then sprinkle with bacon, parmesan, and squeeze half a lemon over top (optional). Serve immediately.