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  • PLT #FantasticalFoodFight

    While tip-toeing through the internet, I came across Fantastical Food Fight. And, while I’m REALLY bad at timed anything, this really intrigued me. A dish is picked, make your own version, compare. I liked that.

    And April’s theme … the BLT! Not that I think there’s anything you can do to a BLT to improve it. Bacon, mayonnaise, bacon, lettuce, bacon, tomatoes, bacon, bread. But perhaps, just perhaps, there is another way to have a BLT.

    Crispy pancetta, arugula and sun-dried tomatoes, some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, all tucked inside a ciabatta roll. Well, that works for me.

    The arugula is from our garden. The sun-dried tomatoes too – the last jar from last summer.

    You may find this shocking, but there really isn’t a recipe for this.

    • Ciabatta roll or loaf
    • Thinly sliced pancetta or prosciutto
    • Arugula
    • Sun-dried tomatoes

    Heat oven to 425.

    On a baking sheet, make a single layer of the pancetta or prosciutto. Should take about 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

    Pile everything onto the ciabatta.

    Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. (I suggest a balsamic glaze or reduction)

    DIG IN!

    Rapid Ragu

    While I am quite fond of all Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks, Nigella Express is a busy cook’s best friend! So many recipes for a quick meal, recipes ranging for family and a quick dinner with friends. One of my favorites is Rapid Ragu – minced lamb, caramelized onions, diced tomatoes, all together and tasting as though it had simmered for hours. I ended up with extra folks for dinner and served this over egg noodles to stretch it a little farther.

    Rapid Ragu

    • 2 tablespoons garlic oil
    • 1 cup cubed pancetta
    • 1 pound ground lamb
    • 1/4 cup caramelized onions *available at gourmet and specialty stores
    • 1/3 cup Marsala
    • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
    • 1/3 cup green lentils
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 cup grated red Leicester or Cheddar, optional

    NOTE: Sigh. No garlic oil, Trader Joe’s was out. I minced garlic, in the olive oil, and when it became fragrant I added the pancetta, which, was chopped up slices as opposed to the cubes. The larger pieces of pancetta give this a much hearty flavor than the dice I usually keep on hand for pancetta emergencies.

    Heat the oil in a wide, medium-sized saucepan, and fry the pancetta until beginning to crisp.

    Add the lamb breaking it up with a fork in the bacony pan as it browns.

    Tip in the caramelized onions, Marsala, tomatoes, lentils and water and bring the pan to the boil.

    NOTE:  I received a jar of caramelized onions from friends in the UK that I was dying to open. Normally I have a batch in the freezer that I make in my crock pot in large amounts. So easy.

    Simmer the ragu for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Sprinkle over the cheese before serving, if using.