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"ABC" stands for apples, Brussels sprouts + cider in this hearty pasta dish topped with fried sage leaves & bacon.


  • 2 pints or 1 large stalk Brussels sprouts, cored and mandolin or very thinly sliced
  • 1 large apple, such as Northern Spy or Braeburn, peeled and chopped ¼ inch
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ⅓ pound smoky meaty bacon, thick sliced or smoked pancetta, diced ¼ inch
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 large shallots, chopped (or 1 onion, chopped)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced or grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, about ⅛ teaspoon
  • About 1 cup hard cider
  • 1 pound faro or whole wheat spaghetti
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 20 sage leaves
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Optional garnishes:
  • Toasted chopped hazelnuts
  • Balsamic drizzle or aged balsamic vinegar or apple balsamic vinegar


Serves: 4-6, 8 as appetizer or side


Prep the Brussels, apples dressed with a little lemon juice, and bacon.

Place a pot of water on to boil for pasta. 

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Add bacon or smoked pancetta and render 2-3 minutes, add Brussels, apples, shallots or onion, and garlic, and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, cook to lightly brown, 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add cider, let it absorb and turn heat to low or simmer.

Cook pasta 1 minute less than package directions in salted water. Reserve about 1 cup of the starchy cooking water just before draining the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter and add sage leaves, cook leaves to crispy and remove with tines of a fork to a paper towel. Remove browned and nutty butter from heat.   

Toss pasta with Brussels, apples and bacon, cheese, butter and half the sage leaves, crumbled, add starchy cooking water as needed to loosen the mixture if it looks dry.  

Serve topped with reserved sage and (optional) nuts and a drizzle of balsamic.