Thursday, April 24, 2008

Natanya's pea and pancetta crostini recipe

my former roommate, Natanya Khazzam just had one of her recipe's published. by Thursday, it should be published in over 100 syndicated newspapers across the U.S. delish.

Natanya's Pea and Pancetta Crostini

Some stores, such as Trader Joe's, sell packages of pancetta -- a big time-saver.

• 1 baguette
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• Kosher salt
• 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
• 1 1/2 cups chopped sweet Spanish onion (about 1 medium-size Spanish onion)
• 1 medium-size clove garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup water
• 3 ounces (about 3/4 cup) finely diced pancetta (see Note)
• 1/2 pound (1 1/2 cups) frozen peas, defrosted and patted dry
• 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed
• 3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese

To make the pancetta: Arrange an oven rack at the center position, and heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the baguette on the diagonal into 18 slices that are about 1/4 inch thick. (Save the leftover baguette for another use.) Brush both sides of each slice with olive oil. Place the slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake for 3 minutes to lightly toast the bread. Remove from the oven and set aside.

To make the topping: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until softened, for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the garlic and saute for 1 minute more. Add the water and cook, stirring, until it has evaporated, for about 2 minutes. Stir in the pancetta; raise the heat to high and saute, stirring, until the pancetta just begins to render a little of its fat and takes on a little color, for 4 to 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium low and add the peas, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper; mix well and cook, stirring, until the peas are softened, for 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat and take out a generous 1/3 cup of the pea-and-pancetta mixture to set aside for the garnish. Place the remainder in a food processor along with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter. Puree until nearly smooth (the mixture will still have a little bit of texture), for about 2 minutes.

Spread the puree thickly on the toasted slices. Top each slice with small bits of goat cheese. (The crostini can be prepared 1 hour ahead to this point. Leave uncovered at room temperature.)

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake until the crostini are warm and the cheese has softened, for about 5 minutes. Garnish the center of each crostini with a small spoonful of the reserved pea-and-pancetta mixture.

Makes 18 crostini, or enough to serve 6 to 8.

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