12/10/2012 01:21 EST | Updated 02/09/2013 05:12 EST

Brussels sprouts with pancetta a twist on the traditional for festive meal

For those who want to order a cooked turkey and prepare the side dishes, here is a delicious recipe for brussels sprouts with pancetta and cream that is sure to become a new Christmas dinner tradition.

Brussels Sprouts With Pancetta and Cream

Brussels sprouts are sadly mistreated and usually overcooked, says Jane Rodmell, owner of All The Best Fine Foods in Toronto. Simply blanch the sprouts until just resistant to the bite and toss with browned butter, salt and pepper or combine, as here, with smoky bacon and cream to make a delicious side dish for roasted or grilled meats.

1 kg (2 lbs) brussels sprouts, trimmed

90 g (3 oz) pancetta, cut in thin strips

250 ml (1 cup) whipping (35 per cent) cream

15 ml (1 tbsp) butter

1 ml (1/4 tsp) freshly grated nutmeg

1 ml (1/4 tsp) cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

50 ml (1/4 cup) toasted pine nuts (optional)

In a large pot of boiling lightly salted water, cook brussels sprouts until al dente, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain well. Cut in half lengthwise when cool enough to handle. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute pancetta until crisp and lightly browned. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain. Set aside. Discard all but 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the fat from pan.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat cream over low heat. Simmer until reduced to about 175 ml (3/4 cup) and lightly thickened.

In the skillet, add butter to reserved fat and heat over medium heat. Add brussels sprouts, in batches, and brown lightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Return all sprouts to the skillet. Season with nutmeg and cayenne. Stir in reserved pancetta and cream reduction and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot garnished with pine nuts, if desired.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Source: "All The Best Recipes" by Jane Rodmell (Robert Rose Inc., 2009).