Serves 4 to 6
Why start the bacon in a cold pan, you ask? It’s the easiest way to ensure my pan doesn’t overheat since dinnertime is an elaborate juggle with a clingy 17-month old and helping my six year old with her homework. For those less tethered, go ahead and preheat your pan, but why not use those few extra minutes to make a cocktail instead?
3 ounces smoked slab bacon, roughly diced
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups diced butternut squash
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
10 ounces Brussels sprouts, tough ends trimmed and cut in half
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
8 ounces dry penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
Add bacon to skillet and heat over medium-high flame. Cook bacon until nicely browned. Transfer to a small bowl using a slotted spoon; set aside. Add butter to skillet and cook until it turns a deep golden color (it will also have a nutty fragrant scent). Add butternut squash to pan and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and lightly browned. Add the shallots and Brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes, until Brussels sprouts are just tender.
Stir in vegetable stock, adjust salt and pepper, if necessary, and bring to a simmer. Return cooked bacon to the skillet, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, just until sauce is heated through. Add cooked pasta and toss well to coat. Divide among deep serving bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese before serving.