Buttered Brussel Sprouts + Guanciale

It's hard to believe I hated brussel sprouts growing up.  Now I simply adore them. They're what I call "Bruta ma buono" ugly, but good.  I especially love it when I can find them still on the stalk. Somehow, I think they taste better when I have to slice each head off individually from the stem.  I guess when you have to work a little harder for your meal, the appreciation factor goes up.  

{I love brussels sprouts mostly plain and simple: smothered in butter with a sprinkling of sea salt.}

  Occassionally, I like to up the anty and add some crispy guanciale cracklings.  Surely now everyone will eat their veggies. 

1 oz. Guanciale or pancetta 
1 pound brussel sprouts 
1 Tablespoon sea salt 
2 Tablespoons sweet cream butter 
cracked black pepper to taste 

Slice the guanciale or pancetta into 1⁄4 inch pieces. Slowly render the 
meat over low heat until crisp and brown. Remove the meat from the 
pan with a slotted spoon onto a plate. Set aside until ready to use. 

In a medium saucepan, heat six cups of water over medium heat until 
boiling. Add a small pinch of salt. Wash, trim and cut each brussel 
sprout in half. Cook brussel sprouts just until fork tender, about 3-4 
minutes. Drain and set aside. 

In the same saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the 
 brussel sprouts and cook just until heated through. Toss with the 
 guanciale and season with the pepper. Taste before seasoning with salt, 
as the guanciale may have enough salt from the curing to season the 
dish. Serve warm. 

 Buon appetito!
copyright 2010 Alisa Barry

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