Flatbread with Pancetta, Mozzarella, and Asparagus

January 5, 2011

It is I, Icebox Isaac.

My mother has been super busy. Like SUPER busy. She occasionally helps people with theatre events and supplies costumes, or props, or such. For some reason this holiday season there is a BOAT load of needy theatre people. While my mother has been pinning gaudy sequins to a somewhat doltish Ghost of Christmas Past, I have been playing around with the idea of the kitchen. For the last month or so I have been ranmbling through my enormous (and wholeheartedly stocked) white and blue kitchen and have switched worlds with Madré. I have been cooking. Yes. Yes I said it. And by George, it’s about time. A few of the delicious occasions have been marked with homemade Lemon Poundcake, Ginger Cookies, Coconut Almond Balls, Ham and Cheese BLANK, Coconut Creme Poundcake, Cornflake Cookies, and Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Chocolate Filling (my personal favorite). BUT, the dish I am going to tell you about I made on a cold, cold night when my mother was going to be out quite late. I decided to treat her to a meal for when she got there. And so I made Flatbread with Pancetta, Mozarella, and Asparagus.

I found this recipe on a fellow food blogger’s website, “Handle the Heat,” and she got it from the “Cooking Light Magazine,” which I found intriguing. The recipe yields 8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 6.7 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups), divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 cup very thinly vertically sliced asparagus
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. The first thing you are going to do is make the dough. This was my first time ever making the kind of dough that rises, so needless to say my excitement was overwhelming. Combine warm water and yeast in a large bowl then let it sit for 5 minutes. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 and 1/4 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt to yeast mixture and then stir until blended. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, (I used my counter and my cutting board.) Knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (the dough will feel sticky).
  2. Next, place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size.  Gently press two fingers into dough. If an indentation remains, the dough has risen enough. (For the warm place I was not quite sure what to do since it’s the middle of Winter. So…I turned on my toaster oven and put the covered bowl near the heating vessel. Would I advice this? No. It’s probably very dangerous and, clearly, a fire hazard.)
  3. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add thyme, pancetta, and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until pancetta is crisp. Stir in pepper. (CAUTION: THIS IS DELICIOUS. I had to pull myself away.)
  4. Preheat oven to 475°.
  5. Place a baking sheet in oven for 15 minutes to preheat. Punch dough down; cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Stretch dough into a 10-inch circle on a floured surface. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cornmeal on preheated baking sheet, and place dough on sheet. Spread pancetta mixture evenly over dough. Arrange thinly vertically sliced asparagus over pancetta mixture; sprinkle evenly with shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese. Bake flatbread at 475° for 10 minutes or until crust is golden. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Cut flatbread into 8 wedges.
  6. EAT.

My mother came home and was delighted. We had a late night flatbread and a mother/son bonding time. ‘Twas nice. This treat is healthy and delicious and really not that hard, so I would recommend it highly.

Before going in the oven...

Riiiiiight out of the baking machine (oven)!

It's got bite! That was cheesy...HAHA.

 

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One Response to “Flatbread with Pancetta, Mozzarella, and Asparagus”

  1. It looks delicious, Isaac, and I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying perusing Handle the Heat!

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