Wanna see your guests drool? Pancetta-Ricotta Crostini.

January 19, 2007


Bacon, cheese, bread…. drool. Wait, don’t add drool.

But, honestly, it will be hard not to salivate over these particular hors d’ouerves. Just looking at images of these beauties is causing me to have to mop up my keyboard. One of the hazards of blogging about food, I guess.

It is a truism among all non-vegetarians that bacon — or in this case, pancetta — makes everything better. (Sort of like butter.) If that were a “theory” in science terms, this particular experiment would elevate it to a “law.” Like gravity.

I think these simple, bite-sized little offerings will be a hit at any party. They have a terrific crunch from the parmesan-seasoned toast points (or crostini), a tang from the bit of ricotta and basil filling, a sweetness from a carmelized onion and, of course, that unmistakable crispy, salty goodness of pancetta. Even guests with unfortunate overbites (such as myself), who normally avoid the embarrassment of attempting to chomp two-bite hors d’ouerves, will hazard taking discrete — oh, six or seven — helpings of this pancetta-ricotta crostini. (The trick? Try to jam the whole thing in at once and avoid conversation for the 30 seconds you’re noshing it. Feign fascination with the host’s house plants and photographs, and avoid all eye contact while your squirrel-like cheeks are filled with food. Works nearly every time. If interrupted, hold your hand up over your giant mouth and look apologetic. Repeat.)

The other great thing about these crostini? They make your house smell like good cooking… Come on: first caramelized onions and then frying bacon? Your guests will only have to be careful they don’t slip on their own drool. (Which really is the only drawback to this recipe.)


Click here to download the recipe for these Pancetta-Ricotta Crostini.


Since I’ve stolen the previous two recipes (spanakopita and potstickers) from my in-laws, it’s time I provide you one of my own. This dish has fairly simple ingredients and looks like what I imagine most passed hors d’ouerves look like in pop culture — something on toast.

These are fairly simple to make. Take pancetta, roll something yummy inside of it, quick fry, put it on tasty toast, and voila. The only difficult aspect of this dish is the frying. The pancetta has a tendency to open up on you. This isn’t a problem. You simply bring the toast to the pancetta and not the pancetta to the toast. This means place it upside down against the open pancetta and then use a spatula to give upward pressure when you turn it over. It’s like turning a cake out onto a plate.

Finally, I have an issue of terminology. On toast…en croute… crostini… toast point… I think there are about a million different ways to say, “I’m going to use this stale bread to make something pretty.” In fact, when naming this dish, I really only decided on crostini, not because it’s technically correct, but because I had ingredients that looked more Italian then anything else. So, if you’ve got a better name, please send it my way!


Pancetta-Ricotta Roll Crostini
Yield: 12 servings
1 baguette (12 half inch slices)
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
12 slices pancetta
olive oil

1 large yellow onion (sliced)
1/2 lb ricotta
10 leafs fresh basil (chopped)
1 tbsp. unsalted butter


1. In a large skillet over medium low heat, add the butter and the onion. Salt the onions liberally. Let cook for 30 min or until the onions are a golden color. Once they turn golden, remove the onions from heat and let cool briefly. Dice them until smaller pieces.

2. While the onions are cooking, you can make the crostini. Set your broiler to high. Slice the baguette into 1/2 inch slices. Lay them out on a cookie sheet and light drizzle with olive oil. Salt, pepper and grate on the cheese. Run under your broiler for about two minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown. In the alternative, if you have a toaster oven you can toast them in batches.

3. It’s time to make the filling. In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, caramelized onion, and basil. It’s important to taste. You will want to season the filling with salt and pepper, but you don’t want to over salt. The key is to remember it’s going to be wrapped in pancetta, which has a nice salty flavor; over salting will be like doubling the saltiness of each bite.

4. Set out your pancetta. Place about a tablespoon of filling in the center of each slice. Fold up two sides until they are about a quarter of the way in. Roll the remaining portion careful to keep the ends inside the roll. This is roughly like folding up a small burrito. Place on a plate or cookie sheet with seam side down until you are ready to cook.

5. Place a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Let the pan heat up for about 1 min. Add the rolls to the pan seam-side down. There is no need for oil because the pancetta will give off its own fat. Cook for about 2 min or until they are crisp. Using a pair of tongs to gently turn over. If they open up, don’t worry. Cook on the other side for another 2 minutes or until crisp. Once cooked, remove the pan from the heat.

6. The trick is transferring them now to the crostini. If the rolls didn’t open, you can simply use a spatula and place them seam-side down on the crostini. If they did open, an easy technique is to press the crostino (the singular form of crostini) against the top of the roll, and then roll them over using a spatula to apply upward pressure. Once completed, serve warm. Enjoy!


  1. Seriously, such food should be banned. Sigh.. I love bacon…I can just taste the crunchiness and then the explosion of cheese inside…ok..now I just drooled on my keyboard!

  2. Ok I just drooled on my keyboard. OMG this looks so good!

  3. Bacon: the candy of the meat world.

  4. i go absolutely insane for bacon. i love it straight up and mon mour makes perfectly crisp kind. beautiful job on this dish and oh my, the photos are lovely!

  5. OMG that looks incredibly good. I downloaded the recipe and will be trying this for sure!

    Speaking of bacon, you have to see the “food game” that Matt is playing over at Deglazed. (click the link in my blogroll, you won’t be disappointed with his blog. He is a guy who gave up office life to chase his dream as a chef). But basically, you have to try to name a food that can’t be made better by adding one of four ingredients (bacon, cheese, olive oil, and chocolate).

  6. I love bacon with all my heart. 😀

    Parmesan is one of my favorite things, too. This dish is perfect for me.

  7. I simply was stunned with the look of this dish before I even got to read about what went into it. I copied it down and emailed it to my mother who graduated from J&W Univ with a degree in Food Sci said it was a must make for the next family function. Thank goodness! I love scallops wrapped in bacon as much as anyone but my family has been stuck in a rut with that for quite a while.

    Thanks for pulling us out!

  8. Beautiful

  9. Thank you all. I can’t imagine anything better then bacon myself. I mean bacon by any other name is really just as wonderful too. Pancetta and Lardon or a million other names or preperations for that perfect belly just makes me happy.

    I’m glad you are all enjoying these recipes so much. I felt, in looking back at the blog, we do a great deal of mains and desserts, but not near enough situational cuisine. So, we are going to do a few more over the coming weeks to round out our recipes for you. Feel free to send us emails if you have ideas or areas you’d like our take on something. Thanks again!

  10. I am a firm believer that everything tastes better with bacon! 🙂 I have to hold a saucer under my chin when I look at that picture! Too too good…I am definitely making this doe my next party…thanks for sharing your recipe 🙂

  11. Bacon is, in my humble opinion, food to be revered. I have found my baking it that it is less odiferous and if done properly, way less fatty. The plus is that it is just as good!

    Those look mahhhhhhhvelous!

  12. “I felt, in looking back at the blog, we do a great deal of mains and desserts, but not near enough situational cuisine. So, we are going to do a few more over the coming weeks to round out our recipes for you.”

    Yippie – I’m already salivating waiting to see what you are going to come up with. I can not wait. Your recipies are outstanding and your pictures just make me want to bite into my screen!

  13. I *heart* pig. Must. Make. These. Now.

  14. Nice recipe, but please learn to spell.

    Example one: Step four, “Place on a plate or cookie sheet with seem side down”. Seem with two Es is when something apppears a certain way, not the joint between two edges, that’s seAm.

    Second example: Step five, “Using a pare of tongs…”. Pare is like paring knife. You mean a pair of tongs.

  15. Wow. I appreciate your desire to aid us. But I think that sort of comment is a bit snarky for even my taste. On average, we produce several thousand correctly spelled words a month. Hopefully, this vindicates our general abilities to spell. And the words you cite are actually not misspelled, but misused.

    Additionally, we try to copy edit everything at least twice before publishing. But, it’s not uncommon for a homonym to accidentally slip through despite our best efforts. I think if you ask the professionals at papers and magazines they miss them as well. In fact, the mistakes you cite are not on the blog’s version, but an earlier version of the recipe in the PDF file.

    Thanks for pointing those out. The corrections have been made, the PDF updated, and I hope I’ve overreacted to your tone.

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  18. Hi! Nice site!

  19. Hi.
    Good design, who make it?

  20. I was going to include these in my wedding reception, but I am concerned they may get cold. Has anyone tried these at room temp?


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