Pancetta & Leek Mini Quiches

You’ve heard that chauvinist expression ‘real men don’t eat quiche!’  Well, secretly, I understand it – when the quiche is bland and ordinary.  But I’ve never had a man – real or otherwise! – refuse this quiche.  Perhaps it’s the pancetta, a distinctive taste that is both subtle and strong.

Pancetta is Italian bacon and the word means ‘little belly,’ referring to the pig’s belly from which both pancetta and bacon are cut.  If you can’t find pancetta, or don’t have it on hand, you can use bacon instead but remember that pancetta is unsmoked and a store-bought smoked bacon may overpower your dish.

For my taste, pancetta is more than simply unsmoked bacon and I think it’s worth going the extra yard to find it.  We usually have it cut a quarter inch thick but the thickness of the slice is personal and depends on the dish you’re making.

What you need:

6 ounces pancetta, finely diced
2 leeks (white & light green part only), cleaned and finely diced (also known to some as “big-ass” green onions)
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup half and half
1 cup grated Fontina cheese (approx 3 oz)
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (approx ¼ oz)
2 extra large eggs
1 extra large egg yolk
1 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Dash nutmeg
1 pound puff pastry (see pantry section) or frozen from the grocery

What you do:

Defrost the puff pastry.

In a skillet, cook the pancetta, stirring frequently, over medium heat until browned but not too crispy.  Remove the pancetta from the skillet, add the leeks to the same skillet.  Cook the leeks until soft and just starting to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Combine with the pancetta and let cool.

In a separate bowl, combine the cream, half and half, cheeses, eggs and spices. Next stir the pancetta and leeks into this quiche mixture.

Prepare mini muffin tins by spraying with cooking spray.  Roll out puff pastry sheets, one at a time, into a 12”x 12” square.  Using a cookie cutter, cut out 3” circles of the puff pastry.  Press the circles into muffin tins and fill about ¾ full with the quiche mixture.

Bake in a 375 degree oven until the quiches are puffed and golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Makes 36