Rustic Pasta with Charred Brussels-Sprout Leaves, Pancetta, and Butter-Sizzled Hazelnuts

The hues and flavors of fall mix and mingle in this easy, crowd-pleasing pasta dish.


30 minutes


15 minutes






  • 14 ounces Brussels sprouts, quartered through the core
  • 1½ tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • about 5 ounces diced pancetta
  • 1 red onion, very thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 10 ounces dried rotini or farfalle pasta
  • 3 ounces Challenge European Style Unsalted Butter
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped skin-on hazelnuts, finely grated zest of 2 oranges


  • 1

    Trim away the triangular core from each sprout quarter, then break/pull apart into leaves, like a little cabbage.

  • 2

    Preheat the broiler to high heat. On a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss the sprout leaves with the mayonnaise and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil until evenly coated. Distribute evenly and season generously with salt and pepper. Place directly under the broiler and broil until nicely charred in places but not completely blackened, 3 to 5 minutes, tossing once. Set aside.

  • 3

    In a large skillet, warm the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta, onion, red pepper flakes, and ½ teaspoon salt; sauté gently until the onion is softened, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

  • 4

    Put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil, for the pasta. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the hazelnuts, swirling until it is foamy and nut-brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  • 5

    Cook the pasta until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain well, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water. Add the cooking water to the skillet with the onions and place over medium-low heat. Fold the drained pasta and half the charred sprout leaves into the onion mixture until evenly blended; season generously with pepper. Warm through, stirring, for three minutes, before serving.

  • 6

    Bring the butter and hazelnuts quickly back up to the sizzling point and pour the bubbling butter and hazelnuts over the pasta. Toss well, then scatter the remaining sprout leaves and orange zest over the top and serve at once.


  • !

    It is helpful to have a friend and a glass of wine for pulling apart the Brussels sprouts. Don’t be alarmed at the number of sprouts. It may seem like a lot for 4 people, but after their stint under the broiler, they’ll be greatly reduced.

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