GF Pancetta & Brussels Sprouts Mac & Cheese

by Susan on January 4, 2018

gf pancetta & brussels sprouts mac & cheese

As a child I associated Brussels Sprouts with stinky gym socks, as my only exposure to them was when my mom boiled them (thus creating a small akin to aforementioned socks). I can’t remember where or when I first experienced a crispy sprout as an adult, but it was a complete game changer. I’ve put Brussels sprouts in salads, on pizzas and now in pasta. The results have all been equally delicious!

Interestingly enough, most similar recipes I saw called for simply boiling the sprouts before baking. Since I am not a fan of the resulting texture or smell, I chose to cook mine in the skillet with the pancetta. I also tailored the roux and pasta to make the dish gluten-free.

When I incorporate “green things” into a dish, I measure my efficacy by how much green remains in my children’s bowls after dinner. Happily, the Brussels were nicely mixed and coated with a suitable amount of cheese. In other words, my offspring gobbled them all up!

If you don’t have pancetta, bacon would work equally well here. Just make sure to chop it nice and small. Also keep in mind the skillet is going in the oven for about half an hour, so definitely undercook your pasta if you don’t want to wind up with mush.

GF Pancetta & Brussels Sprouts Mac & Cheese

4 oz. chopped pancetta
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed & quartered
1 tsp. garlic powder
ground black pepper
2 tbs. butter or coconut oil
2 tbs. gluten-free flour
2 cups dairy-free milk (I used unsweetened almond)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
sea salt
3 cups total shredded cheese (I used a combination of gouda, gruyere and cheddar)
12 oz. brown rice fusilli
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium. Add the pancetta and cook until just beginning to crisp, then add Brussels. Season with garlic powder and pepper and cook until the pancetta is crisp and Brussels are beginning to brown. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook and drain pasta a minute or two less than you normally would cook it.

Melt butter or coconut oil in skillet, then add flour. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add in milk and continue to stir. Season with pepper, nutmeg and salt and raise heat slightly to allow mixture to come to a low boil. Now lower heat and cook, stirring often, until smooth and thickened. For me this was about 7-8 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in cheese. Add cooked pasta to skillet along with Brussels and pancetta. Stir to thoroughly combine. Sprinkle grated Parmesan over the top and place skillet in oven for 25 minutes. At the end, if desired, you can turn the oven to broil to crisp up the top. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

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