It doesn’t look like bacon and eggs. But it is–only better. Organic eggs, pancetta, homemade pesto, pecorino fresco and fingerling potatoes, baked into a frittata.
A fancy-sounding dish that took one hour from start to finish. And that includes mashing the pesto with a mortar and pestle (the only way to make pesto, if you ask me.) I use pancetta over bacon for two simple reasons: you need less of it, and it tastes better. A fifth of a pound was more than enough for the entire frittata. Pancetta and bacon are both cured pork belly, but unlike bacon, pancetta is not smoked. Pancetta has a deep, distinct pork taste, whereas whenever I eat bacon all I taste is smoke and nitrates. Maybe less so if it’s home-cured, but still, I have a bias and I’m sticking with it.
Pecorino fresco is a mild, soft sheep’s milk cheese that is not aged like typical pecorino romano. I chose it because it melts better than its stronger, drier kin and I love its buttery texture.
After browning the pancetta, I cooked thinly sliced fingerling potatoes in the leftover fat. Then I added eggs, a spoonful of pesto, sprinkled pecorino on top and baked it for about 15 minutes. The only time-consuming part is the good ol’ fashioned pesto grinding. But its September, and fresh basil won’t be around much longer. So while you’re at it, make a big batch and freeze the leftovers (don’t add the cheese if you’re freezing it, the pesto will keep longer without it.)
6 organic eggs
1/2 pound fingerling potatoes,thinly sliced (lengthwise)
1/5 pound pancetta, cut into chunks
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup grated pecorino fresco
Extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt, freshly ground pepper
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 handful basil
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/3 cup pecorino fresco
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
Prepare the pesto:
Add garlic and salt to the mortar and mash into a paste with the pestle. Add the basil and continue mashing into the garlic. When the basil breaks apart, add the pine nuts and continue to mash. When it forms a paste, slowly stir in the olive oil and grated cheese. Taste for salt. *If you’re not using the pesto immediately, add a few drops of fresh lemon juice to keep the vibrant color.
Preheat oven to 400F. Heat up a cast iron skillet and add one tablespoon of olive oil. When hot, add pancetta. Cook until browned on all sides, and remove from pan. Add potato slices to the pan in a single layer and let cook without stirring for five minutes. This will create a nice brown crust. Stir potatoes and continue cooking until browned on all sides, 10 minutes total.
Beat eggs well in a large bowl. Add milk. When potatoes are browned, add pancetta back to the pan. Pour in the eggs and a spoonful of pesto. Stir to combine. Let cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle grated pecorino on top, and bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden.
Serve with a side of wild arugula dressed in a homemade Dijon vinaigrette.
Where I shopped:
Organic eggs: Temescal Farmers’ Market, Glaum Farms
Pancetta: Ver Brugee in Oakland
Fresh Basil, pecorino fresco: Star Grocery, Berkeley
fingerling potatoes: Yasai Market, Oakland