Brussels Sprout and Lemon Carbonara

We've all heard that we should try to find joy in and appreciate the little things. Sometimes it's flowers coming into bloom, a fresh cup of coffee, or a sweet kiss from a significant other. I have been making a conscious effort recently to take note of the daily moments that make me smile. It seems many of these moments happen while I'm cooking. Especially when there's a little "chemistry" involved.

Making this dish certainly caused a grin because I am just so entertained by the magic in which hot pasta cooks eggs and turns them into the velvety sauce that we call carbonara. Does anyone else get overly-giddy when they do something cool in the kitchen? Rob always manages to catch me mid-jig when I think I've done something awesome in the kitchen, like making bagels from scratch (there's that terrifying thing called yeast involved) or cooking the perfect steak (heaven forbid it comes over cooked). I should probably start playing music while I cook so the dancing looks more deliberate.

This Spring-y recipe is just what I'm craving these days. Simple, a little lemony and light. It's also a great "carb-loading" meal, just two more weeks until the Nike Women's Half in DC :-).

Lemon and Brussels Sprout Carbonara

Brussels Sprout and Lemon Carbonara (serves 4) inspired by this recipe.

olive oil
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, trimmed & sliced in half
1 lemon, sliced in half
12 oz. whole wheat pasta (I used gobetti, but penne rigate or rigatoni would be good too)
2 eggs
1/2 cup shredded Fontina cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet heat about 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet, add the chopped onions and a little bit of salt and cook for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds more. Remove the mixture from the pan and gently wipe the pan clean.

Heat up the butter and another 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in the pan over medium high heat. Once the pan is really hot add the brussels sprouts and drizzle a little more olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Allow the sprouts to cook for 3-4 minutes without moving them. You want them to develop a nice char, but it's OK if you need to turn them sooner to avoid burning.)

Flip all the sprouts over and squeeze 1/2 half of the lemon over them to deglaze the pan. Toss the sprouts a bit, add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan and cover. Steam for about 4 minutes or until tender.

Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta.

In a large bowl (large enough to hold all the pasta) whisk together the eggs and cheeses. Set aside.

Once the water is boiling, add a generous amount of salt and the pasta. Boil until al dente. Right before the pasta is finished cooking reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water.

When the pasta is done, strain it and immediately add it to the bowl with the eggs and cheese. Toss everything together with some vigor until the egg cheese mixture coats everything. Add the pasta water and the veggies and continue to toss for another 30 seconds or so. (The pasta water will help to thicken the sauce even more). Squeeze the other lemon half over everything and give one final toss.

Garnish each serving with another sprinkle of Parmesan and a few fresh cracks of black pepper.

Lemon and Brussels Sprout Carbonara

Enjoy!

What are some of the best "little moments" in your day?