Orecchietta with Caramelized Shallots, Hashed Sprouts & Bacon

Wintery flavors of brussel sprouts and smoked bacon seemed like the perfect combination and pasta, as always, was a simple, satisfying way to put dinner on the table.

Orecchietta with Caramelized Shallots, Hashed Sprouts & Bacon (serves 4)

1/2 lb brussel sprouts, thinly sliced
6 slices bacon
1/2 (generous cup) sliced shallots
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup vermouth
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 lb orecchietta pasta

Cook bacon until crispy. Drain on a paper towel, chop and set aside

In a large saute pan melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened and beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Be sure to stir constantly so as not to burn the shallots. Add the brussel sprouts and vermouth and let cook down until vermouth absorbs entirely and sprouts are just beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add 2 tbs of balsamic vinegar and cook until the strong smell of vinegar dissipates , about 30 seconds.

In the meantime bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add orecchiette. Cook for 11 minutes and drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.

Add the cooking water and pasta to the brussel sprouts and bring to a boil. Cook until all remaining liquid is absorbed.

Serve immediately and top with grated parmesan.