If you think you don’t like Brussels sprouts, it’s because you’ve never had them with bacon. Seriously, they’re crunchy and slightly sweet. Don’t toss this recipe just because you think you can’t stomach the Brussels sprouts. Even if you still don’t like them, they’re big enough to pick around and you can make it without them the next time. Since we don’t eat pasta very often anymore, I want the pasta we do eat to be packed with flavor. This is hearty and sweet and crunchy and creamy and, honestly, just delicious. I use fresh roasted pumpkin, but you could use any winter squash. You could even used frozen butternut squash. Canned pumpkin would give you the same flavor profile, but it will change the texture a bit.
Start by roasting the pumpkin. Halve it. Scoop out the seeds. Rub it with oil. Place it cut side down on a cookie sheet and bake at 350* for 45 minutes or an hour until it is just tender. Let it cool and then score the flesh with a knife without removing the peel (much like you’d do with an avocado). You’ll need 2 cups of these cubes for this recipe. Save the rest for pie or use it to make some pumpkin pops.
Cook fresh or frozen tortellini according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. While the tortellini is cooking, dice up the bacon and crisp it up in a pan. Add halved Brussels sprouts and grated garlic just as the bacon starts to get crispy. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add pasta water. Be careful that you don’t let the garlic burn.
Stir the Brussels sprouts and bacon and diced pumpkin into the tortellini. Your pumpkin will probably break down some and that is just fine. Serve with crusty bread (like my whole wheat French bread or my honey cracked black pepper French bread).
20 ounce package cheese tortellini
1/2 pound bacon, diced
2 cups halved Brussels sprouts
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
2 cups cubed roasted pumpkin
Cook tortellini according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water.
Dice bacon and cook in skillet until almost crispy. Add Brussels sprouts and garlic. Sautee 2-3 minutes or until garlic starts to brown. Add pasta water and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Stir Brussels sprout mixture and cubed pumpkin into cooked tortellini. Serve with crusty bread.