As a good Italian, I love eating a bowl of pasta for lunch to fill me up and give me the energy to work until the evening. So I am always looking for ways to incorporate nutritious and seasonal pasta dishes in my weekly diet. For a healthy and light pasta dish to take to work in your lunch box or to make on a cold winter day, try this Whole Wheat Barilla Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Pancetta, Walnuts and Lemon Zest.
Brussels sprouts are a good source of protein, iron and potassium, as well as Vitamin C. This is the best time to eat these vegetables in Britain: the season is between October until the end of the winter. I know Brussels sprouts are not to everyone’s taste, but if you are afraid of eating Brussels sprouts because of their bitterness, you should give this recipe a chance.
Cooking the sprouts with pancetta (or bacon) and lemon zest will cut through the bitterness and make the dish extra tasty and moreish. You can also use shallots and fresh herbs to develop a richer flavour.
This Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Pancetta and Lemon Zest is easy and quick to make at home in just 20 minutes.
For a vegetarian / vegan alternative, replace the pancetta with chestnuts or golden raisins for extra nutrition and flavour. You can add a splash of balsamic vinegar and lemon juice to the Brussels sprouts while they are steaming in the pan. They will reduce the bitter taste of the sprouts and add a light sweetness to the dish.
My kitchen pantry is filled with boxes of Barilla, the world’s leading pasta maker which have been making pasta near Parma in Italy since 1877. I have been eating Barilla all my life: it is a great pasta brand and a staple in many Italian kitchens. For a healthy diet, switch to 100% whole wheat pasta which is an excellent source of natural fibre.
This month, Barilla UK are running a competition with British Airways to win a trip to Italy. Find more information on how to enter at the bottom of the post.
Wash the Brussels sprouts. Trim the base and any loose, damaged leaves. Slice them and set aside.
Fill a pan with hot water and bring to boil. Add rock salt into the boiling water. Cook the pasta according to directions (around 10-11 minutes).
At the same time, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add onion and pancetta and cook for two minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook for about 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the pancetta is crispy. If needed, add a few tablespoons of boiling pasta water to keep the vegetables frying. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Drain the cooked pasta and transfer into the pan with the Brussels sprouts and pancetta. Stir together over high heat for one minute.
Transfer the pasta to the bowls, top with lemon zest and walnuts. Serve immediately.
For a chance to win £1,000 British Airways vouchers to use towards a weekend away in Italy, post a picture of a pasta dish on Barilla UK’s Facebook page or on Instagram using the hashtags #OutsidetheBox and #BarillaUK.
Disclaimer: the post was written in collaboration with Barilla UK. All opinions are my own.