Monday, February 22, 2010

Panko, Parm and Pancetta oh my!!

Nothing makes an ordinary dish extraordinary like a crunchy, cheesy, salty topping! Today when we made this we put it on top of our mac and cheese then baked it until the topping is golden and delish. But you can use this to top many things... I love to top fish, thinly sliced chicken breast, mashed potatoes, potato gratin... the list goes on and on. So lets see how to make it..

It is 3 simple ingredients that turn to magic somehow...

Panko bread crumbs.
If you have never used these they are great! They are super crunchy bread crumbs and you can usually find them in the Oriental section of your market but they are becoming so popular these days that some times you can find them with the regular bread crumbs.

Here is where I stand on Parm if it comes in a can it isn't real cheese! It does cost more but there are somethings you need to splurge on. In this house this is what we splurge on. Cheese is very important to us and it needs to be real cheese.

Pancetta is kind of a mix between bacon and prosciutto it is very salty and a little goes a long way. I use Pancetta because I love bacon and if I were to cook a pound of bacon by the time everyone in the house came and took a piece we wouldn't have enough left to use here. Where I shop Pancetta isn't much more than bacon and I can buy just what I need for any given meal. If you can't find it (mine is at the deli counter) you can use bacon (cooked) or prosciutto (although prosciutto is much more expensive than bacon so that may not be the best option)

You mix panko and parm... how much??? Well it depends on what you are topping there is no right or wrong here.

It absolutely helps to have such a cute sous chef mix this together... maybe this is where the magic comes from.

Then dice and brown the pancetta and add the pancetta and some of the fat to the bread crumbs.

You need to add enough fat so that the bread crumbs get golden when you bake them if you don't put a little fat in there then the bread crumbs will just burn and that isn't good. So you don't need to over do it a few drizzles should do you good.

Here is the mac and cheese we made tonight topped with this out of this world topping. So Delish!!

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