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This weeknight combo is easy, protein-packed and not at all predictable

Andrea Geary, America's Test Kitchen on

This meal is economical, nutritious comfort in a bowl. In this recipe, we boiled the pasta in a small volume of water, which left the water extra-starchy and thus ideal for building a creamy, full-bodied (but light) sauce. The starchy canned bean liquid helped in the same way. A small amount of bacon imbued the Brussels sprouts with a subtly meaty smokiness and added even more crunch to the mustardy crumb topping.

Orecchiette and Navy Beans with Brussels Sprouts and Spicy Mustard Bread Crumbs

Serves 4

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

 

1/8 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon table salt, divided, plus salt for cooking pasta

Pinch cayenne pepper

8 ounces orecchiette

2 slices bacon, chopped fine

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