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Grilled cheese is one of our favorite lazy dinners (and lunches, for that matter). It’s simple, satisfying and easy to jazz up—like this pancetta-wrapped number from I Heart Cheese by Mihaela Metaxa-Albu.
“The combination of gooey mozzarella cheese and salty pancetta makes a simple grilled cheese sandwich taste absolutely divine,” she writes. “This version of the classic is encased in a crispy cured pork layer, and a good amount of garlic and fresh herbs give the cheesy filling tons of flavor.”
Best of all, it’s ready in under 30 minutes.
Reprinted with permission from I Heart Cheese by Mihaela Metaxa-Albu, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020.
¼ cup (57g) salted butter, softened
1 large garlic clove, minced or finely grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Small handful of fresh oregano, woody stems removed and leaves finely chopped
Small handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
8 slices white bread
14 ounces (397g) mozzarella cheese, shredded
12 thin slices pancetta, cut in half lengthwise
1. In a small bowl, add the butter, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside. In another small bowl, combine the parsley, oregano and mint. Set aside. Using a butter knife, evenly spread the butter mixture on one side of each slice of bread.
2. On a work surface, lay out 4 of the bread slices with the buttered side facing down. Add equal amounts of the mozzarella cheese to each slice. Generously sprinkle the herb mixture over the cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Top with the remaining bread slices, buttered side up, to create four sandwiches.
4. Preheat a large skillet or grill pan over medium heat. Take one sandwich and wrap it with 6 slices of pancetta. Repeat with the remaining three sandwiches.
5. When the skillet is hot, add the sandwiches, placing the side where the pancetta slices meet facing down. (Cooking this side first will allow the pancetta slices to get crispy and stay firmly on the sandwiches.) Cook until the cheese starts to melt, about 4 minutes.
6. Use the back of a spatula to gently press down on the top of each sandwich. Flip each sandwich over and continue to until the cheese is completely melted and the sandwich is golden-brown on both sides, about another 4 minutes.