Cooking with Alison

Pancetta Balsamic Vinaigrette

In Sides and Sauces, Soups and Salads on June 19, 2010 at pm

This is one of my (and Ed’s) favourite vinaigrette recipes.  It’s very versatile.  We love it on salad and for dipping bread served with shavings of parmesan cheese.  Giada even suggests tossing it with pasta, so I used it to make a pasta salad recently.  If you put it in a pretty glass container, it makes a great gift (it’ll look prettier if you throw a whole sprig or two of rosemary into the bottle).  I’ve included this in gift baskets for various occasions before.

Pancetta Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ounces pancetta, cut into small cubes (smaller than 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon sugar

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a small saute pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Let cool slightly and transfer the pancetta into a glass  jar (discarding the grease).  Add the balsamic vinegar, rosemary, salt, pepper, and sugar.  With the lid tightly on the jar, shake to combine the contents.  Add the extra virgin olive oil and shake again with the lid on.  Shake well just prior to using.

Note:  Giada doesn’t mention how this should be stored.  It is possible that the process of cooking the pancetta through and the acidity of the balsamic vinegar is enough to prevent bacterial growth if kept at room temperature.  However I personally prefer to store it in the refrigerator.  Note that the fat from the pancetta will solidify when chilled.  I simply remove the fat solids, gently warm the vinaigrette if necessary, and shake well to combine before serving again.

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