This 30-Minute Brussels Sprouts Parmesan Pasta is made with garlicky shredded Brussels sprouts, toasted pine nuts, and a silky cheese and black pepper sauce. Feel free to add bacon or sausage if you’d like, too!
Now that Brussels sprouts are back in season, we’ve been buying them pretty much non-stop lately here in our house and roasting, sautéing, and tossing them into salads basically as often as possible. I can’t get enough of these little green superfoods this time of year! But one of our favorite new recipes this past month ended up being an impromptu fusion of one of our favorite pastas (cacio e pepe) and one of our favorite side dishes (sautéed garlicky Brussels sprouts with pine nuts).
For lack of a more creative name, I’m calling it our new favorite Brussels Sprouts Parmesan Pasta. ♡
It’s a super-basic recipe that requires just 6 ingredients and comes together in less than 30 minutes. But I’m telling you, the comfort and flavor factors of this pasta are a full-on 10 outta 10. The texture of that thick and chewy al dente pasta is balanced with wisps of tender shredded Brussels sprouts and toasted buttery pine nuts. And when tossed together with a glossy butter, Parmesan, garlic and black pepper sauce, get ready to go back for seconds because I assure you that one bowl of this cozy seasonal pasta is going to have you swooning.
If you feel like adding in extra protein, some sautéed Italian sausage or bacon in there would be a very, very good idea. Or if you felt like giving the pasta more of a lemon-buttery twist, this recipe would also be delicious made instead with the lemony brown butter sauce that I used in this recipe too. However you make it, this pasta is a great way to enjoy the season’s sprouts. So bring home a batch, and let’s make some pasta together!
Brussels Sprouts Pasta Ingredients:
First, a few quick notes about the ingredients you will need to make this pasta (amounts listed in the full recipe below):
Pasta: I really recommend using a good thick pasta for this recipe, such as orrecchiette or bucatini. But any pasta shape that you have on hand will do.
Butter: Part of which we will use to sauté the Brussels, and part of which will form the base of our Parmesan sauce.
Brussels sprouts: I love shredding them into confetti-like ribbons for this pasta. (Here is a quick video tutorial you can watch for how to shred Brussels either by hand or with a food processor.) Or you could also just halve the Brussels sprouts if you prefer.
Garlic: Either pressed or minced.
Parmesan: This recipe calls for a full 2 ounces of Parmesan cheese, which will be the starring ingredient in our cheesy sauce. As always, it’s important that your Parmesan be freshly-grated before adding it to this pasta, so that it will melt smoothly into a silky sauce. Unfortunately the pre-grated or shredded Parmesan you buy at the store will not melt well. So purchase a wedge of cheese and give it a quick grate by hand.
Pine nuts: Briefly toasted in a sauté pan or in the oven, to bring out their best flavor.
Sea salt and black pepper: And finally, lots of sea salt to generously season your pasta water. Plus lots of freshly-cracked pepper to season the sauce.
Tips For Making This Pasta:
Before we get to the full recipe below, here are a few quick tips for making this pasta:
Prep your ingredients beforehand. Once you begin boiling the pasta, this recipe moves pretty quickly. So I recommend being sure that your pine nuts are toasted and the Brussels sprouts and garlic are chopped and ready to go before you begin the cooking the pasta.
Use a spider strainer to transfer the pasta. If you love pasta as much as I do, I really recommend investing in a spider strainer so that you can easily and immediately transfer your cooked pasta from stockpot to sauté pan for the final step of this recipe. If you don’t have a spider strainer, you can reserve a cup or so of the starchy pasta water and then drain the pasta in the sink in a large strainer. But I really prefer the spider strainer method for efficiency.
Don’t overcook the pasta! Our goal for this recipe is that the pasta is nice and chewy and al dente after it has been tossed with the sauce. So keep a close eye on the pasta as it cooks and test a few bites here and there. And when the pasta seems just 1 minute or so shy of al dente (it will still have a slightly firm bite), go ahead and transfer it to the sauté pan and then the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce.
As I mentioned above, this recipe is incredibly flexible if you would like to personalize it with ingredient swaps or add-ins. For example, you could…
Add a protein: Bacon or Italian sausage would be a natural fit in this pasta. (And if you add them, I recommend using the leftover grease to sauté the Brussels instead of the butter!) But shrimp, chicken or salmon would also be delicious additions here too!
Add extra greens: Feel free to also sauté in some fresh kale or baby spinach with the Brussels sprouts, if you would like to add in some extra greens.
Add lemon juice: As mentioned above, this recipe would also be delicious made with my the lemony brown butter sauce found in this recipe. Or, if you just wanted to add a hint of lemon to the cacio e pepe sauce, you could toss the pasta with a few tablespoons of lemon juice just before serving.
Add some spice: I usually can’t resist also adding in a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, to give the pasta a subtle hint of heat.
Use different nuts: If you would like a more budget-friendly alternative to pine nuts, toasted walnuts would also be delicious in this recipe.
Make it gluten-free: Just be sure to use certified gluten-free pasta.
More Favorite Brussels Sprouts Recipes:
Looking for more ways to cook with Brussels sprouts this season? Here are a few of my favorite Brussels sprouts recipes:
This Brussels Sprouts Parmesan Pasta is made with a simple combo of shredded Brussels sprouts, toasted pine nuts, and a silky cacio e pepe (cheese and black pepper) sauce. Feel free to double the recipe if you would like to use a full pound of pasta.
Cook the pasta. Heat a large stockpot of generously-salted water until boiling. Add the pasta (about 5 minutes before you begin sautéing the Brussels, see below) and cook the pasta until it is 1 minute shy of al dente.
Sauté the Brussels sprouts and garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shredded Brussels sprouts and garlic, and season with salt and lots of black pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Continue with step 3, or if the pasta is not yet ready, briefly remove the sauté pan from the burner until the pasta is ready to go.
Toss the pasta. Once the pasta is ready, use a spider strainer to transfer the pasta into the sauté pan with the Brussels. Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water, and sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top of the pasta. Remove the sauté pan from the heat. Then toss the pasta with the Brussels and cheese for about 1 minute, or until the cheese has melted evenly into a silky sauce and the pasta is cooked to al dente. If the sauce seems too dry, add in 1/4 cup of additional pasta water at a time until the right consistency is reached.
Serve. Serve the pasta warm, garnished with lots of toasted pine nuts, and enjoy!
Can I use frozen brussel sprouts?
The recipe does not say what to do with the other 2 tablespoons of divided butter!?
This looks great. I am not finding where you add the remaining 2 Tbsps. of butter. The recipe calls for 3 Tbsps,. of butter, divided. I see you saute the shredded Brussels in 1 Tbsp. but I do not see where you add the other 2. What am I missing?
Thank you – and congratulations on having a baby bump!
I am making this tonight, I think 8oz of Parmesan cheese is a cup not 2oz stated in the recipe…
2 ounces by weight :)
I am not seeing where the remaining 2 Tbsps. of butter are added. The recipe calls for 3 Tbsps. of butter, divided, but only seems to mention using 1 Tbsp. to sautee the Brussels sprouts. What am I missing?
Also, in the recipes I have seen for cacio e pepe, which you mention as kind of like a component part of this recipe, usually Pecorino Romano cheese is called for, along with plenty of freshly cracked pepper. Here, you recommend plenty of pepper, of course, but the recipe calls for Parmesan cheese. Is there a flavor difference that suggests we use a different cheese?
I see the Mondavi winery recommends a big Cabernet Sauvignon to accompany cacio e pepe, but I understand pairing wine with Brussels sprouts is tricky. Do you have any advice on wine pairing with this recipe?
Finally, congratulations on the Baby Bump!!!
So yummy! I love all your recipes and this one will be a regular! Thanks! Agreed the bigger noodles made it so much better!
Ali, now you’re talking! I loved your Cacio e Pepe recipe and it quickly became one of my family’s favorites. We also love Brussels Sprouts and I’m certain paired together this will be a delicious meal. We have to order the Orecchiette, it’s not available at our grocery stores here (only 3 full markets & 1 Mexican market). But it’s worth it to make this one again.
I made this last nite and am literally eating leftovers this morning. I had everything on hand already and so quick and easy. I had an exhausting day yesterday so this was a perfect meal. I actually grilled some sausage on my electric grill but served on the side for my kids one of whom opted to mix in. I had a little bit of ditalini plus orecchiette so I just dumped in together. But this came together so easily. I would advise definitely adding a bit of lemon zest, I can’t imagine the dish without the flavor it lends and don’t skip the toasted nuts. I had walnuts on hand but toasting released the flavor and an amazing scent and sprinkled atop at the end just added to the deliciousness.
Made this last night – held up well for lunch today! I wanted to up the vegetable proportion so I added a few cups of sweet potatoes and kale. It made the sequencing more difficult to have things ready at the right time but the flavors paired well together.
Question for you, how do I keep the orecchiette from nesting together and sticking? I’ve tried stirring it vigorously and even scooping up a bunch with a ladle and separating them with a fork manually. Nothing seems to do the trick!
Made this for dinner tonight, and it’s absolutely delicious! I added sauteed bacon and then cooked the brussels in a tablespoon of the reserved grease. I also used farfalle pasta because it’s what I had on hand. Turned out amazing! This will definitely be added to our regular rotation. Thank you!
Really enjoyed this for dinner tonight! I added some sliced chicken sausage and sauteed with the Brussels sprouts. Turned out wonderful!
I see that the recipe has now been fixed regarding the missing 2 TBs of butter. That may have been why my sauce did not turn out – I had globs of cheese instead of a nice creamy sauce. I’m guessing that adding that butter in step 3 might have made a difference. It still tasted Okay, but I was disappointed.
This was so good and easy! It only took about 10 minutes once everything got going.
I just discovered your site and this is the first recipe I tried. It was absolutely delicious. I sliced and sautéed some spinach chicken sausage and added at the end. It made a more hearty meal but truly was delicious as is. I can’t wait to try other recipes.
Excellent! I added a little bit of sausage, some leftover ham, garbanzo beans, and kale (cleaned out the fridge). My 9 and 11 years olds loved it. Thank you for another great, adaptable recipe.
Lovely simple recipe. I added quite a bit of lemon, as we are lemon lovers at our house. It is fresh and filling at the same time, and a great fallish dish. Thanks for a great recipe!
Delicious and easy!!!
So I’m a little bit better than novice when it comes to cooking – but not by much. I’m cooking more – and enjoying it – because we’re empty nesters, and I work from home and my wife doesn’t. Made this recope tonight and it was delicious! BUT, all the parm clumped together even though I’m pretty sure I followed the recipe exactly. Any thoughts?
Can you use any other cheese instead of parmesan?
This was divine. Used pecorino cheese and it melted beautifully with the pasta and other ingredients I used penne.
My husband is not a big brussel sprouts fan but he loves this and ate every last morsel and licked the pan!
This was SO my kinda good!! Definitely adding it to the favorites list! For those that say they can’t find where to add the additional 2 T butter, it’s in Step 3. You add it to the mixture and stir til everything is melted and wonderful!!
We loved this recipe as the perfect blend of cheesy creaminess but the addition of sprouts really take it to the next level to be filling with a little extra kick of fiber and nutrients. We double the brussels sprouts and it still turned out perfectly. 10/10 would recommend. AND easy for a weeknight meal!
I love this recipe. Super easy to make and delicious. I often double it to feed more and then can’t fit it all in the pan so I finish the noodles in the pot and then add it all to a large bowl. Enjoy!
This has become an easy week night staple in our house. It’s delicious every time!
Quick, easy and delicious! What more could you want?
So delicious! I’m always finding ways to incorporate brussel sprouts and loved this dish. I added diced bacon and it was just perfect. The husband had two helpings, which is a bonus that makes me smile. :)
I made this a few weeks ago with added bacon and we loved. My husband couldn’t stop raving. I have some frozen beef ravioli, and I am going to use that as the pasta. So I’m on the fence about using bacon again. But it worked so well the last time. Maybe just a smidge. Thanks for a great recipe.
This was amazing! Made it exactly as posted. Felt like I was eating in a really great restaurant!
Tasted good. There did not seem to be enough sauce and so I added an additional quarter cup of water. I also added the juice from 1 lemon. It was good. Fabulous? I am eager to taste it again rewarded tomorrow or the day after as pasta dishes always taste better the day after.
We ate this at a restaurant in the LA area recently. I think it turned out pretty good. I added asparagus as well and small torn bits of kale. It was great! Thank you!