With all the diet-centric cookbooks out these days, can’t we all just have a little fat and carbs and leave it all behind? Yes, we can! Grab a copy of food writer and blogger Andie Mitchell’s Eating in the Middle and redefine what a balanced diet means. Besides, it’s not a really good recipe if you’re still hungry afterward, right?
This quick spaghetti dish reminds me of spaghetti carbonara — noodles coated in a creamy sauce studded with salty pancetta pieces. But carbonara isn’t exactly a healthy dish — and the challenge with all pasta dishes is keeping them light and the portion sizes reasonable. So for this recipe, I cut down the amount of pasta and bulked up the dish with roasted Brussels sprouts. The simple pancetta cream sauce is made with full-fat, full-flavor ingredients, so I kept the amount low — just enough for a really delicious meal.
- About 4 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup pancetta, finely chopped
- 1 cup dry whole-wheat spaghetti
- 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
For the spaghetti
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the Brussels sprouts and olive oil. Spread in a single layer, cut sides down, and season with ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Roast until browned and tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Set aside.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat, cook the pancetta until browned and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Return the skillet to the stovetop.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain.
To the drippings in the pancetta skillet, add the leeks, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to low, add the half-and-half and chicken broth, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the spaghetti, pancetta, and Brussels sprouts, and toss to coat in the sauce. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.
Divide the pasta among 4 plates and serve immediately.