Brussels Sprouts Pasta

Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts, Cranberries, and Caramelized Onions

Brussels Sprouts Pasta

I used to hate Brussels sprouts. Nothing against the Belgians, but I always found these little cabbages to be mushy and bitter. Then I met J, and realized I had better find a way to like them.

J loves Brussels sprouts. When we first met, that was on par with liking Lima beans – totally impossible. I managed to put off requests to make Brussels sprouts for a while, but eventually it had to be done. Over the last few years, I’ve had Brussels sprouts in dishes that made me change my mind. The first one I enjoyed managed to disguise the sprouts in cream, so I don’t think that really counts.

I hadn’t actually cooked fresh Brussels sprouts until I saw this recipe. It looked fun, and a little bit different from my usual pasta dishes. The addition of dried cranberries and caramelized onions sounded like a good idea. Most of all, it looked like something that J would like – and ended up being a dish that I really liked!

Brussels Sprouts Pasta 2

The Verdict:

The cranberries, speck, onions and Brussels sprouts went really well together, despite sounding odd. It was a quick and easy dish to make (my favourite kind!) and is perfect for a weeknight dinner.  It shows off the flavour and texture of fresh Brussels sprouts, without making them mushy. J loved it. It’s a keeper.

Next spring, I’m totally going to buy one of those Brussels sprout stalk dealies from a farmer’s market.

Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts, Cranberries, and Caramelized Onions

modified from this recipe from Serious Eats.

8 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 slices speck, diced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed, and halved vertically
  • 2 cups mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 cup broth (a lighter variety, like chicken or vegetable)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (I used vodka instead)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 6 ounces fettuccine (dried or fresh)
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Cook pasta, until al dente. When done, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid
  2. In a deep sauté pan, fry the diced speck in a splash of oil until some of the fat has been rendered.
  3. Add the Brussels sprouts, cut side down. Cook, making sure not to stir them, until they are browned, about two minutes.
  4. Add the onion slices, stir, and cook until the onions are translucent.
  5. Add the mushrooms and garlic, and cook until the liquids are released and mushrooms begin to brown.
  6. Pour in the wine, and quickly stir to deglaze the pan. Add the broth and dried cranberries.
  7. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the Brussels sprouts are very tender, about 10 minutes.
  8. Toss the cooked pasta into the pan along with the reserved pasta water. Turn heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, until the pasta is well coated and the liquid has evaporated, one to two minutes.
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with grated Parmesan.

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