Posts Tagged ‘pancetta’

While we are in the midst of trying to sell the apartment, I’ve been falling back on old favorites. Last night, I made a version of this Puglian specialty, orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage and every time I make it, it brings me back to a night in southern Puglia. The meatiness of the sausage is comforting and warm on a cold fall night.

Fall always means lasagna time for me…I love making it for company too, because I can put it in the oven when they come over and spend time with people, rather than in the kitchen. My favorites for fall are mushroom and roasted carrot and butternut squash.

My favorite fall fruits are definitely pears, and I love to make crostatas with pears and gorgonzola this time of year. I make big batches of dough and freeze them for later, so I can just defrost and put together the filling when I’m running low on time.

Cold weather makes me really crave a good Sunday breakfast, and there’s no better breakfast than egg and pancetta sandwiches on homemade sage biscuits. I still have a couple of these tucked away in the freezer, and I can’t wait to have one this Sunday.


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This dish is named for a small town in Italy called Amatrice. It’s base is a pork product called guanciale, which is pig jowl, and it tastes like a porkier version of bacon or pancetta. The traditional noodle for this is bucatini, which is a thick spaghetti with a hole like a straw. It’s a messy one to eat, so don’t wear white! It’s a treat to find some guanciale, and I always have to make this when I see it at the store. You can certainly substitute pancetta or bacon, but if you can find guanciale you should try it. This dish is delicious and so easy.

Bucatini al’Amatriciana

1/2 pound bucatini

1/2 onion, chopped

1 can San Marzano tomatoes or cherry tomatoes (I prefer)

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/8- 1/4 pound guanciale, diced

Cook the bucatini in well-salted water a minute less than the package instructions. Reserve some of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, render the guanciale in a frying pan for a few minutes. I like to leave it a little soft, so I don’t wait until it gets crispy. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft. Add the red pepper flakes and stir to infuse the guanciale fat. Add the tomatoes and cook for a minute. Add the bucatini and some of the reserved pasta water and cook for the final minute together. Grate some parmesan or pecorino over the top and enjoy!

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I’ve never been all that excited by biscuits. I think it’s because most of the time, they turn out dry and somewhat tasteless if you get them at diners or restaurants. And don’t even get me started on the fast food version. But, now that I know how good these are, I’ll be stocking my freezer with loads of them. They bake up straight from the freezer and they are so light and flaky that they’re actually best all on their own. But that didn’t stop me from trying a fried egg sandwich with pancetta and cheddar.

Oh, and I should mention that once again this recipe came from the Flour Bakery cookbook. Still working my way through it and enjoying everything.

Sage Biscuits

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces

1/2 cup cold buttermilk

1/2 cup cold heavy cream

1 cold egg

1 tablespoon chopped sage

1 tablespoon chopped scallions

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Scatter the butter pieces in and squeeze between your fingers so that they come together with the dry ingredients. Don’t over mix, you don’t want it to warm up either. The butter should still be in pea-sized pieces.

In another bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, cream, egg, sage, and scallion together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients while  mixing with a handmixer, just until it comes together.

Gather the dough together and roll around in the bowl to pick up any loose flour. Pour out onto a floured surface and pat into a 1″ thickness. Cut out with a 3″ round cutter. Bring together the scraps until you’ve used all the dough. This should make 8 biscuits. If you want to freeze them, wrap them individually in plastic wrap now.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or 45 minutes if they were frozen.

I love a fried egg sandwich with pancetta, but you can definitely substitute your favorite bacon. I also am partial to cheddar or asiago, but use whatever cheese you like best as well.

Fried Egg Sandwich

1 biscuit

1 egg

2 pieces pancetta or bacon

handful of arugula

2 basil leaves

a couple slices of cheese or some grated cheese to taste

Fry up the bacon or pancetta in a frying pan until crispy. Remove to a paper towel. Cook the egg in the rendered bacon fat and season with salt and pepper. I don’t usually flip my eggs because I like them runny, but I do baste them with the extra oil/fat in the pan. Layer the cheese, pancetta, and arugula on the bottom and place the egg on top of the cheese so it starts to melt. Top with a couple basil leaves and the top of your biscuit and dig in!

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Pappa al pomodoro is an Italian tomato soup that uses up old bread to thicken it. I usually make it vegetarian, but you can add in some bacon or pancetta if you want something heartier. This was a special request for the blog a long time ago, I just haven’t made it in about a year. It’s great with a grilled cheese or just on it’s own for lunch on a rainy day. I keep my leftover parmesan rinds in the freezer, but if you don’t have any, you can just sprinkle some grated parmesan over the top.

Pappa Al Pomodoro

1 can San Marzano tomatoes

1/2 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 slices bacon or pancetta, diced (optional)

1/2 cup white or red wine or water

1 cup cubed bread

2 leftover parmesan rinds

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil and the bacon if you’re using it. Once it has softened, add the wine or water to deglaze and then add the tomatoes. Add the bread, rinds, and sugar and let simmer for 20 minutes until the bread disintegrates. If you are having trouble getting the bread to break up, whisk it for a minute and that should do it. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top.

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It’s officially fall, although it may not feel like it yet. And that means apple picking and finding all sorts of ways to use the 30 pounds of apples we have in the fridge. I always go straight to butternut squash soup because it’s an easy and healthy soup and you can make it with all sorts of variations. I sometimes fry up some sage leaves to make them crispy and sprinkle them on top. Or you can crisp up some pancetta or prosciutto in the oven and sprinkle that over the top.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash, diced

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 apple, diced

2 tablespoons chopped sage

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup white wine

2 cups chicken stock (can be substituted for vegetable stock)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Saute the onion, garlic, and squash in the olive oil for a few minutes until they start to brown. Season with salt and pepper and add the apple, rosemary, and half the sage. Continue to saute for another minute, then deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the stock and cover. Cook for 20 minutes or so, until a knife can be inserted and removed easily from a piece of squash. The smaller the dice, the quicker it will cook. Add the nutmeg and the rest of the sage. Using an immersion blender (or a food processor working in batches- be careful because it is hot), puree the soup. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil on top.

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