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Recipe

Pancetta and Parmesan Tartlets with Basil and Cherry Tomatoes

Yield: 24 tartlets

Crossing Mediterranean borders, this dish merges Greek phyllo with Italian influences in delicate and crisp tartlets. If you want a smoky flavor, substitute American bacon for the pancetta. Serve with baba ghanoush.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • Cooking spray
  • 5 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 oz. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil, plus small leaves for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 sheets phyllo dough (13×18 inches), thawed if frozen
  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted; more as needed
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Preparation

  • Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is syrupy, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400°F. Lightly spray two mini-muffin pans with cooking spray. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crisp, about 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, cheese, chopped basil, pancetta, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper.
  • Lay out a damp kitchen towel and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Lay the 5 phyllo sheets in a stack on a cutting board. Using a pizza cutter or pastry wheel, cut them in half crosswise to make ten 9×13-inch sheets. Put the phyllo on top of the plastic wrap, and immediately cover with a second sheet of plastic wrap and another damp kitchen towel. Remove 2 sheets of phyllo and stack them on a cutting board. Lightly brush the top sheet with melted butter. Cover with another 2 sheets of phyllo and brush the top with melted butter. Lay one more sheet of phyllo on top, but do not brush with butter.
  • Using a pizza cutter or pastry wheel, cut the phyllo into 2×2-inch squares and gently press into the muffin cups. Repeat with the remaining 5 sheets of phyllo, and press the squares into the muffin cups. Add about 1 Tbs. filling to each cup, and top with a cherry tomato half, cut side down.
  • Bake until the phyllo is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, cool, then remove from the muffin tins. Garnish with small basil leaves and a dot or two of warmed balsamic syrup. Serve at room temperature.

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