Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pancetta and Parmesan Tacos

Clearly, I love to cook. I really enjoy trying out new recipes and playing with new ingredients. Sometimes though, the choices can be overwhelming. There are so many good looking recipes out there. I have a book that I glue all of my recipe clippings into, which currently contains over a hundred items just waiting for me to try, the foodie blog world provides me with more inspiration than I can handle, and let’s not even discuss all of the cookbooks sitting on my shelves. Needless to say, it can be very hard to narrow the choices down to one for a weeknight dinner.


Often, I ask Diesel what he would like me to make, and his standard response is, “I don’t care, I love everything you cook.” As much as I appreciate his sentiment, that answer is endlessly frustrating. Also, the answer is not entirely true as we both vividly remember the dinner-that-shall-not-be-named.


So when Diesel emailed me a shopping list the other day and included the instructions to pick up whatever we didn’t have at home, I was thrilled. I didn’t know what he had in mind, but the fact that he made the decision for me was wonderful.

It is no secret that Diesel and I are big fans of Guy Fieri, so when I discovered that Diesel had chosen two dishes from Guy’s Big Bite I was really excited to try them out. (As a warning – the recipes for dishes made on Guy’s Big Bite are posted on the Food Network web site, but they are wrong. Very, very wrong. Take them with a grain of salt and pay attention to instructions that are not logical. Despite the instructions, placing a roast in the oven for 15 minutes will not cook it all the way through. Not even close. Diesel actually wrote down the ingredients and instructions as Guy gave them on his show, so we would have a more accurate guideline for making the dish.)

These Pancetta and Parmesan Tacos turned out beautifully. I had never cooked with pancetta like this before and it was just delightful. It tasted a lot like bacon, but was richer, spicier and had a deeper flavor. Can't go wrong with that. I will definitely be making these again in the future.

Pancetta and Parmesan Tacos

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon freshly black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup chopped pancetta
1 cup diced Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons julienne fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine Parmesan, paprika, and freshly ground black pepper.

On a parchment lined cookie sheet, add the Parmesan mixture in 2 very thin tablespoon dots, 2 inches apart. Place in preheated oven and cook until cheese melts, about 4-5 minutes.

Remove from oven and when cheese is cool enough to handle but still moldable, remove and form into small taco type shells by laying the cheese over something round (a dowel or small rolling pin would work).

In a small sauté pan cook pancetta until crispy, remove and let cool. When cool, crumble with your hands.

In a small bowl add tomatoes, basil, salt, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil, and toss gently to combine.

Add tomato mixture to parmesan tacos and top with pancetta. Serve immediately.

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