This spaghetti dish has the crispiest roasted brussel sprouts and a velvety lemon parmesan cream cheese sauce which comes together in minutes. A drizzle of your favourite pesto mixed with lemon juice finishes it off on top. Extra texture and crunch from some bacon OR toasted pine nuts and pumpkin seeds – you decide.
The sauce for this pasta is very quick and easy. All you need is some cream cheese, lemon juice and zest, parmesan and some “liquid gold”. If you don’t know what that is, it is the water that the spaghetti cooks in. In this recipe, I suggest using chicken or vegetable broth to cook your spaghetti. This adds extra flavour and goodness, and I love how it won’t all just be thrown down the drain. Much of it will go back into the sauce. So this “liquid gold” is how you can get pasta sauces to really coat every strand. I was surprised how much I needed here – the pasta really soaks it in when freshly cooked, so reserve and add more if you need to loosen up a claggy looking sauce.
The sprouts roast up so easily in the oven and be sure to save any leaves that fall off when you trim them – as they make the best crispy bits! I just can’t get enough roasted veggies – roasting imparts texture and flavour like no other way of cooking them. Try to source the smallest sprouts you can – they are less bitter than the bigger ones.
You can choose to use either bacon or a mixture of pine nuts and pumpkin seeds in this recipe for added texture and crunch factor. I like the pine nuts for mid week as we are trying to cut back on meat, but if I made this on a Friday I would probably use bacon (this is just how WILD our lives have become). While its great that we are reducing our meat consumption, the combination of crispy bacon and sprouts is pretty delicious. But I do also love just the pine nuts and seeds – and I think you should be heavy handed with them! You cook them both in pretty much the same way – at the start in your pan, just toast the pine nuts/seeds in a little bit of oil OR fry the bacon in it’s own fat until browned and crispy on both sides, then drain on paper towel. Watch the nuts and seeds carefully so that they brown but don’t burn – this can happen in seconds so stir/shake the pan often and keep your eyes on them.
Check out my recipe for fresh Pumpkin Seed Pesto here (Instructions written for Thermomix users). I never knew pesto could be so variable. And its so much nicer and fresher than shop bought – the colour, flavour and texture are so vibrant when you make your own. It only takes a few minutes in a high speed blender/food processor.
- ½ Cup Mixed Pine Nuts and Pumpkin Seeds OR 3 Rashers of Streaky Bacon
- 500g (1 lb) Brussel Sprouts
- ⅓ Cup Parmesan, Grated
- 500g (1 lb) Pack of Spaghetti
- 1L Chicken or Vegetable Stock or Water
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 3 Tbsp Cream Cheese
- Zest and Juice of ½ lemon
- To Serve: 2 Tbsp Pesto + Juice of ½ lemon
- Heat the oven to 220F/425C. Trim the end off the sprouts and cut in half and place in a baking tray. Drizzle with some olive oil and salt and pepper, then approx. half of the parmesan, and bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Heat a large frying pan to medium and add the pine nuts and pumpkin seeds with a little oil, or bacon if you're using. Toast until browned and crunchy, being careful not to burn. Set aside to drain on paper towel.
- While the sprouts are cooking, boil the stock and add the spaghetti.
- Towards the end of the pasta cooking time, add the butter and the cream cheese and 1 cup of cooking liquid from the pasta pot to a large pan. Squeeze over the lemon juice and add in the zest, along with the rest of the parmesan. Swirl everything together in the pan and bring up to a simmer.
- Take off the heat when hot, then drain the cooked spaghetti and add that into the sauce, tossing well with tongs.
- Scatter over the roasted sprouts, pinenuts and seeds or crumble in the bacon if using. Stir again.
- Mix up a little bowl of pesto and lemon juice, and enough water to make it a runny drizzle consistency.
- Serve the spaghetti and sprouts in pasta bowls, then drizzle a Tablespoon of pesto mixture over each dish.