Baked Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta is a comfort food through and through. Crispy and creamy, this side dish is impossible to resist. Delicious for your holiday table, and easy enough for a weeknight.
If you serve this to anyone who claims they don't like Brussels Sprouts, I think these baked brussels sprouts with pancetta will change their mind.
The little bits of salty pancetta mixed with the caramelized brussels sprouts, held together with melted Gruyère and Parmesan is mind-blowing!
(I often suggest brands I love and use — these are only suggestions and this is not a sponsored post.)
- olive oil - I like this one.
- onion - Try to choose onions that are firm, heavy for their size and without bruises.
- garlic - Look for firm heads of garlic without any soft spots or green shoots, which are an indication it's old. (Raw garlic cloves should be firm without any dark spots.)
- pancetta - Pancetta is a salt cured pork that adds a lot of flavor. For this recipe, try to purchase thick-cut pancetta because it will be cut into a small dice.
- smoked paprika - Paprika is a spice made from dried, ground red peppers. It ranges from mild to hot -- use whatever intensity you like. I love smoked paprika, where the peppers used have been smoked, which adds a delicious smokey flavor to dishes.
- dried thyme
- brussels sprouts - Choose Brussels sprouts that are bright green, firm and heavy for their size. The leaves should be tightly packed.
- vegetable stock - Preferably sodium-free or low-sodium.
- heavy cream
- Gruyère cheese - Gruyère adds a wonderful nut-like flavor which pairs really well with the other key players in this brussels sprouts recipe.
- Parmesan cheese - Use Parmigiano Reggiano if possible.
- salt - I cook (and bake) with Kosher salt. I prefer it for a few reasons: its larger flake size, it's less refined and usually doesn't contain additives, and it does a great job enhancing the flavor of foods without making them taste salty.
- pepper - Preferably freshly ground.
(See recipe card below for quantities.)
How to Make Them
- Add the onion to an olive oil-coated, large, oven-proof skillet. (A12-inch cast iron skillet is perfect.) Cook, until soft and slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and pancetta and sauté until it’s beginning to crisp. Then add the paprika and thyme, stir to blend.
- Gradually stir in the brussels sprouts and turn the heat to medium-high, and add a bit more oil. Sauté until they’re tender and golden along the edges.
- Deglaze the skillet with the vegetable stock, using a flat-edged spatula to scrape any bits of stuck food off of the bottom of the skillet, and back into the other ingredients.
- Mix in the cream and Gruyère. Sprinkle the Parmesan and remaining more Gruyère on top.Place in a preheated 375°F oven and bake until it’s sizzling along the edges.
(More detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.)
- A good part of what makes these baked brussels sprouts so amazing is caramelizing the ingredients before it goes in the oven. So be sure both the onions and sprouts are golden in the pan before baking it.
- The brussels sprouts will be cut into halves of quarters, depending on how big they are. However you cut them, all of the pieces are approximately the same size so they cook evenly.
- Pancetta is on the salty side, so be careful when seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
- If the top isn’t as golden as you’d like after the baking time, place the skillet under the broiler for about 30 seconds.
- The pancetta can be substituted with bacon. The only difference in the cooking process is that the bacon should be cooked whole and then crumbled -- rather than diced first.
- Vegetarian? Just skip the pancetta. The flavor will be a bit different, but it will be equally as rich and delicious.
- If you'd like to use fresh thyme instead of dry, use three times the amount, and chop it finely.
More Brussels Sprouts Recipes
- Prosciutto Cranberry Brussels Sprouts
- Hazelnut Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter
- Kale Brussels Srpouts Salad
Can you make it ahead?
You can make this up to two days ahead. Just warm it in the oven to reheat before serving.
Ideally, to make it ahead, you should do so in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, instead of the cast iron skillet I recommend in the recipe instructions. This way you can transfer it from the oven, to the fridge, and back to the oven again to reheat. (It should be cooled to room temperature before it's refrigerated.)
I hope you enjoy Baked Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta as much as we do!
Baked Brussles Sprouts with Pancetta
- olive oil for the pan
- 2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup pancetta, cut into a small dice
- 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 pounds brussels sprouts, washed and dried, root ends cut off, halved or quartered into bite-sized pieces
- ½ cup vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Set the oven and prepare the pan. Preheat the oven to 375°F, and adjust a rack to the center. Lightly coat the bottom of a large, oven-proof skillet with olive oil and place it over medium-low heat. (A 12-inch cast iron skillet is perfect.)
- Sauté onion, garlic and pancetta. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and pancetta and sauté until it’s beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Then add the paprika and thyme, stir to blend and cook until it’s very aromatic, about 30 seconds.
- Add burssels sprouts. Gradually stir in the brussels sprouts and turn the heat to medium-high, and add a bit more oil. Sauté, stirring often until they are tender and become golden along the edges, about 10 minutes.
- Deglaze and season. Deglaze the skillet with the vegetable stock, using a flat-edged spatula to scrape any bits of stuck food off of the bottom of the skillet, and back into the other ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Please note that the pancetta is salty, you wont need too much!)
- Add cheeses and cream. Mix in the cream and 1½ cups of the Gruyère. Sprinkle the Parmesan and remaining ½ cup of Gruyère on top.
- Bake. Place in the preheated 375°F oven and bake until it’s sizzling along the edges, about 10 minutes.(If the top isn’t as golden as you’d like, you can place the skillet under the broiler for about 30 seconds.) Serve!