October 25, 2009

Gnocchi with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Pecans

Well, it's official. Autumn is definitely my favorite season.
Twenty years ago I would have said summer and ten years ago I most likely would have voted for spring. (never been smitten with winter)

Now, it is autumn. No doubt.

The temperature is usually perfect - not too hot and not too cool - and the light turns this gorgeous golden color that I find absolutely stunning. When the sun shines through the leaves on the plane trees they shimmer in beautiful shades of pale green and amber, and the colors in the vineyards range from honey to deep orange to bright crimson. It is seriously gorgeous.
My camera gets an intense workout in October and early November!

Another reason to celebrate autumn; Brussels sprouts are back! And we love them.

This is a hearty dish that offers a scrumptious mix of flavors. The gnocchi and bacon are rich, the sprouts are golden and caramelized (I can't resist anything once it has been caramelized!) and the pecans add a nice crunch to the dish.

Gnocchi with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Pecans

serves 4 hearty appetites
  • 2 ounces thick cut, smoked bacon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic gloves, smashed a bit but left whole
  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, outer leaves trimmed and larger sprouts cut in half
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound gnocchi
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  1. In a skillet large enough to hold the Brussels sprouts in one layer, heat the olive oil to medium and saute the bacon with the garlic cloves until the garlic is lightly browned and the bacon is crisp, about 4 minutes. Remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside and discard the garlic cloves.
  2. Raise the heat to medium high and add the sprouts to the pan, stirring to coat evenly with the olive oil. Leave the sprouts to cook undisturbed in a single layer for about five minutes, until they develop a deep brown, caramelized color. Stir to allow the other side of the sprouts to brown as well. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of water and stir well to loosen any caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan. Cover and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Meanwhile bring a pot of water to boil for the gnocchi and cook according to package directions.
  5. Test the sprouts for doneness by piercing with a sharp knife; they should be al dente, not mushy. Add more water and cook longer if needed. As soon as they are done, scoop the gnocchi out of the water with a slotted spoon and add to the pan with the Brussels sprouts.
  6. Stir in the bacon, chopped pecans and thyme and turn the heat to high to thicken the sauce. Add a bit of reserved pasta water if necessary.
  7. Taste for seasonings.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
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MsGourmet said...

Welcome to the club, Autumn has always been my favourite season!

Jennifer K said...

People don't believe me when I say this, but brussels sprouts are my favorite vegetable. Usually I roast them with some chopped bacon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Your recipe sounds great :-)

Cathy said...

Got brussel spouts at the farmers market yesterday and have gnocchi in the fridge so I'm all set to try this. Looks delicious, Loulou, and your photo is making my mouth water.

Kate Haverkampf (Looft) said...

Thanks for this great recipe! With autumn here, I have seen that the Farmers Markets are getting slimmer on the vegetables here in Caen. I tried brussels sprouts last weekend but they didn't fly with my kids. Maybe this will do the trick!

poppy fields said...

Maybe this recipe will swing my girls over to my Brussels sprouts loving side.

Loulou said...

Nice to know that I'm keeping good company. Why didn't I realize this sooner? :)

I believe you! Although they aren't my absolute favorite, they are in the top 10.
Roasting them is delicious. (especially with bacon!)

Let me know how it turns out. Enjoy!

I didn't like brussels sprouts much as a kid either. Maybe this dish with convert them. :)
Are you new to Caen?

poppy fields
If so, let me know! That would be a triumph!

spacedlaw said...

Interesting recipe. I'd love to try it but there are no such things as Brussels sprouts on the market. I might be able to find them frozen though (they serve some at work so they must be availabel somewhere!).

croquecamille said...

Wow, sounds delicious! And I'm with you on the caramelizing. :)

Loulou said...

They don't eat them in Rome? You'll have to pick up some the next time you're in Paris and take them home with you.

Made it again for lunch yesterday. Yum!

James said...

What a great way with the sprouts!

James said...

What a great way with the sprouts!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Stopped in to say hello via Cathy at Wives with Knives who shared your wonderful recipe! I can't wait to try it. Love your blog!

Loulou said...

It's a delicious way. Of course, everything is better when there's bacon involved!

Savoring Time
Thanks! I was very happy to read that Cathy tried and enjoyed the recipe. You'll have to let me know if you try it too.
Those Ossi di Morti look delicious! I must try making them.