Roasting garlic gives it a sweet, caramelised flavour that suits this dish, but it does take a little time, so you might as well roast several heads and save some for other dishes. If you’re short of time, just add a couple of crushed or finely chopped garlic cloves towards the end of the onion cooking time.
1 whole garlic bulb
200ml double cream
1 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
250g pancetta or streaky bacon, diced
1 onion, very finely sliced
6-8 sage leaves, finely shredded
A small glass of white wine (optional)
400g dried spelt or other pasta
500g Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed, halved or quartered
4 tbsp Parmesan, finely grated
Salt and black pepper
- First, roast your garlic. Heat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Cut off the top cm of the bulb, exposing the flesh. Sit it on a square of foil and drizzle with olive oil, salt and a dash of water. Bring the edges up and together to make a parcel. Roast the garlic for 50 mins or until soft.
- Once cooked, leave to cool slightly, then separate the cloves and squeeze the skin to release the flesh. Save half for another day and mix the remainder with the cream.
- Heat a tbsp of oil in a frying pan, add the pancetta and fry, stirring now and then, to brown it. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add a splash more oil if the pan seems dry, lower the heat, add the onion and fry very gently for 10 mins until softened. Stir now and then to stop it catching. Add the pancetta and sage to the onion. Turn up the heat and stir for 2 mins. If using the wine, add it now and let it reduce for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic cream and let it bubble away for a couple more minutes.
- Meanwhile, put two pans of salted water on to boil. While the onion and pancetta are cooking, add the pasta to one pan of boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions.
- Drain, reserving a little of the pasta cooking water. Meanwhile, blanch the Brussels sprouts in the other pan for 3-4 mins, depending on size. Drain. Stir half the Parmesan into the sauce, then toss in the cooked pasta and sprouts, adding a little reserved pasta water to thin the sauce if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste then serve sprinkled with the rest of the cheese.
Recipe by www.riverford.co.uk/recipes