While I know Slovenia is hardly unknown, it’s also not on the same recognition level as say a country like France or Italy. So with that said, Slovenia and Georgia (the country, not the American state) are my two European somewhat off the beaten path nations I would love to visit the most.
Between Slovenia’s stunning Lake Bled (it looks straight out of a fantasy) and its tragic World War I history (it is often called the Forgotten Front, site of one of Europe’s bloodiest frontlines), I have no doubt that I would enjoy myself immensely. While sometimes I can take Rick Steves’ European travel shows with a side of “meh,” I genuinely enjoyed watching the Slovenia episode because I know so little about this gorgeous Central European nation.
A couple of weeks ago while perusing Saveur’s online site for possible recipes to try (I simply adore this periodical), I came across one for krpice (homemade pasta with spicy cabbage and bacon). I’m a bacon lover through and through (screw the reports about bacon giving you cancer, if I’m going out, I’m going out being a bacon consumer), and you can never go wrong with pasta either, especially a dish that’s non-red sauce based.
But the problem was I didn’t have much of a desire to spend my limited time making homemade noodles (although it didn’t seem too terribly difficult). I also wasn’t really in the mood to buy a whole head of cabbage since I rarely eat the stuff and wasn’t hosting an Irish wake anytime soon. So at Trader Joe’s (a local food store in the U.S.), I came across a bag of shaved Brussels sprouts; perfect alternative.
The krpice ended up being an extremely simple dish to throw together with the couple of shortcuts I made and was entirely delicious. It also made enough for a second meal, always a win too.
Krpice (Slovenian Pasta with Spicy Sprouts and Bacon)
Recipe adapted from Saveur
1 bag of Haluski noodles (or any egg white noodles)
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
2 oz. slab or thick-cut bacon, cut into 2-by-3-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
½ bag of shaved Brussels sprouts
1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
1⁄4 tsp. cayenne
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the sugar and cook, stirring, until it dissolves, 2 minutes. Add the bacon and onion and cook, stirring, until the bacon renders its fat and the onion is lightly caramelized, about 12 minutes. Add the sprouts, cumin, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until the sprouts soften slightly, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of boiling salted water, add the pasta and cook, stirring, until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 2 tablespoons of the cooking water, and add to the sprouts along with the cooking water. Cook the pasta and sprouts, stirring, until combined, about 1 minute. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, transfer to a serving bowl, and serve while hot.