Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Bacon Pasta

The first of the season purple sprouting broccoli was standing tall and proud at the Farmers’ Market letting us all know that Spring is just around the corner. Everyone wanted some of this majestic member of the Brassica family. 
In order to celebrate the first greens of the year there was only one companion up to the job – extra mature Cheddar cheese. To make it a glorious trio I bought some excellent collar bacon. This is one of those recipes where if you don’t fancy as much cheese you can leave it out, if you want more bacon put it in or if you have some cauliflower lying around later on in the year it would do just as well. 
collar bacon, local cheese and broccoli
To feed 4 people I used 3 bunches of purple sprouting cut into stems and leaves, 6 rashers of collar bacon diced, 1 wedge of strong Cheddar cheese grated, 235g cottage cheese, 2 tablespoons single cream, 400g pasta, salt and pepper.

I discovered that heating cottage cheese with a stronger cheese is a really quick and simple way to make cheese sauce. I only add the cream to thin the sauce down a little.

bacon and cheese sauce
Put two pans of salted water on to boil (one each for the pasta and the broccoli) while you cook the bacon. Fry the bacon until really crispy and put to one side. Next, put the cheese, cottage cheese, cream and plenty of black pepper into a saucepan on a medium heat stirring continuously. It might look really thick at this point but it will thin and the lumps will disappear.
At the same time, put the pasta into the boiling water. Depending on the cooking time of your pasta, cook the broccoli separately for 3 minutes so they are both ready at the same time. Drain the pasta and broccoli. If you want the sauce to be thinner you can mix in a little of the cooking water from the broccoli – it gives it a bit more flavour too. Mix the bacon into the cheese sauce and pour over the broccoli and the pasta.
broccoli and bacon pasta

The elegant leaves of the broccoli almost act as spoons to catch the cheese sauce. It was a warming, hearty filling way to make best of this vegetable. If you have any cheese sauce left it’s great for dunking crusty bread. 

All That I’m Eating


  1. says

    I don’t think I ever saw broccoli leaves in a bunch! Will keep my eye open next time! This looks really tempting!
    Like Belinda, I would not vote for leaving cheddar out 🙂

  2. says

    Yum, this looks too good, I definitely wouldn’t leave the cheese out 😉 plus I love recipes where you can just throw stuff in (I love that pasta too, it’s so cute – orecchio pasta I think?

  3. says

    Oooh that looks delicious! I also go through a ridiculous amount of cheese each week (our poor arteries, people!), but it’s too too good, especially with bacon!

  4. says

    Really clever idea with the cottage cheese & cheddar, shall have to try it out! Had you heard that Purple Sprouting broccoli could be hard to come by this year? Many farmers are reporting 100% crop losses due to a poorly timed cold spell! Enjoy it whilst its available 🙂

  5. says

    I am a big pasta lover so this dish will be making an appearance on my donner table soon though i don’t eat bacon so i might replace that with somethhing else…
    Thanks for the tip too 🙂

  6. says

    I roasted some purple sprouting broccoli yesterday. Simply drizzled some olive oil on and it tasted so good. Arrived in my organic veg box and I’m hoping I get some more next week for a recipe I’ve seen also including pasta and spicy sausage.

  7. says

    Sounds like a classic combination. I’ll bear you recipe in mind for when my own home-grown PSB is cropping in a few weeks’ time…
    When you make the cheese sauce your way, what texture does it come out? I’m used to the old-fashioned roux way, using flour.

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