I'm not doing a whole lot of experimenting in the kitchen right now, although I do have my moments. These Brussels Sprouts with pancetta are one thing I have made recently, roughly based on a recipe from Giada De Laurentiss.
If I had cream I probably would have added it at the end, but I didn't. I also normally would have used vegetable or chicken broth in this, but I didn't have any small amounts on hand and didn't feel like opening or unfreezing a quart of broth just for half a cup, so I used what I did have - white wine. It worked just fine, but could have used a little broth to take the edge off the acid, and I wouldn't have needed to add that little pat of butter at the end.
And I am totally in love with pancetta. There are some things that demand the smoked goodness of bacon (navy bean and bacon soup, BLT sandwiches, breakfast), but I am developing a taste for the more subtle flavor of the unsmoked pig. And I can buy as much or as little as I want at the deli counter.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH PANCETTA
4 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced, cut into 1-inch ribbons
1 lb Brussels sprouts, rinsed, trimmed but not cored, and halved
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth (or white wine)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp butter (optional)
Heat skillet over medium heat and add pancetta. Cook until pancetta has darkened significantly and most of the fat has been rendered. Remove from skillet and place on a paper-towel lined plate.
Remove all but approximately one tablespoon of the pancetta fat. Turn heat to medium high. Add Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring frequently, until they start to brown, approximately 5 minutes. Add broth, a little salt (not too much - the pancetta is salty) and pepper to taste. Cover, lower heat, and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove cover and cook on high until the liquid has evaporated. Optional: add butter
Remove the sprouts to a serving dish and crumble pancetta over them. Serve immediately.