Bacon and Brussels Sprout Orecchiette

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min (includes marinating time)
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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Ingredients

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning pasta water

1 pound orecchiette

1 pound Brussels sprouts, separated into leaves 

1 pound apple wood smoked bacon, chopped 

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds 

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt and add the pasta. Cook until just under al dente, about 9 minutes. Remove the pasta to a rimmed baking sheet using a spider, allowing it to continue cooking and cool slightly. Return the water to a boil and stir in the Brussels sprout leaves. Simmer for 30 seconds. Remove the leaves to the same tray using a spider. Cool slightly.
  2. Add the bacon to a medium skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the bacon is brown and crispy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the Parmesan, olive oil, vinegar, mustard and 3/4 teaspoon salt together in a large bowl. Add the slightly cooled pasta, Brussels sprouts and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Remove the crispy bacon to the bowl with a slotted spoon and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and toss gently if desired. Allow the salad to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerated up to 4 hours before serving. 

Cook’s Note

You can also blanch and shock the Brussels sprout leaves. To do so, prepare an ice bath in a medium bowl. Prepare the pot of water as above. Cook the leaves until bright green and just tender, about 1 minute and 30 seconds. Remove the leaves to the ice bath, using a spider, to shock, until chilled. Drain well and blot dry with a towel. Set aside.