Layered potatoes and pancetta with cheese sauce


by: Walter

The dish was served with creme fraiche and caviar, which was too fussy and complicated an idea for my taste, but I loved the idea of the potato sheet and it stayed in my mind. I used to experiment with wrapping other ingredients inside, and then one day, when I had a potato sheet left over, I dropped it into a cup that happened to be nearby. After 2 while, I noticed it had set in the shape cf the cup, and when I turned in cut it stayed that way. That gave me the idea of making a container with the potatoes, which would be like a crust hut also add another layer of flavor. I started trying cut different fillings enclosed in potato and then fried — eventually I came up with this one. I think of this as a winter dish, and sometimes when porcini mushroom are in season l like to use them instead of the pancetta — just sliced and sautéed with a little chopped garlic and then mixed with the Taleggio cheese, as in the recipe that follows. This is a little bit complicated, but the important thing is to have really starchy potatoes for this dish, so that they will stick together well. You also need some small round ovenproof flan dishes or ramekins, about 3 inches in diameter. If you want to serve the sformati more simply, you could just make a salad instead of the sauce.


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serves: 4

2 large starchy potatoes (such as Desiree)

2 1/4 cups sunflower oil (for frying)

5 1/4 ounces pancetta (cut into strips)

5 1/4 ounces Taleggio cheese (cut into small dice)

1 1/2-2 tablespoons butter

sea salt

For the sauce:

1 cup milk

11/2 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 tablespoons flour

pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese

Nutrition Facts
Layered potatoes and pancetta with cheese sauce

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 1859

  • Total Fat: 180.3 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 41.5 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 132.1 mg
  • Sodium: 1252 mg
  • Total Carbs: 37.6 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 3.3 g
  •     Sugars: 5.7 g
  • Protein: 28 g

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1.  Pool the potatoes and slice them about 1/16 inch thick, using a mandoline grater or a large, sharp knife. Put them on a baking tray and season with sea salt to draw out some of their water.

2.  Heat the sunflower oil in a large, deep pan to about Z50°F. To test, dip in one of the slices of potato, it should just fry very gently. Put the potatoes into the oil to "blanch" them — i.e., so they soften without crisping or coloring. Cook them in batches of 3 or 4 slices at a time, keeping them well away from each other so that they don't stick together. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain very briefly — again, keep them separate from each other. Don't leave them longer than a few minutes or the paper will blot away all the starch, which you will need to stick the layers together.

3.  Line each small ovenproof dish with overlapping slices of potato, covering the entire base and sides and making sure there are no gaps (this is where the starch in the potatoes will stick the slices together). The potatoes around the sides need to come about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches above the top of the dish or enough to fold over and completely enclose the filling.

4.  Heat a dry frying pan, add the pancetta strips and fry quickly to release excess fat but not enough to color them. Remove and drain on paper towels.

5.  Mix the diced Taleggio cheese with the pancetta, and scatter over the base of each potato—lined dish. Pull the overhanging slices of potato over the top, making sure there are no gaps, and press down lightly so the potatoes seal the top completely. Put in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight to firm up.

6.  Preheat the even to 425°F. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Bring the milk just to the boil and then take eff the heat. Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes. Slowly pour in the milk, mixing well, then add the nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer fer 3 to it minutes, stirring all the time, until the sauce thickens. Keep in a warm place covered with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.

7.  Heat a film of sunflower oil in an ovenproof nonstick frying pan and turn the sformati out of the dishes into the pan (2 at a time if you have a small pan). Cook gently for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden (he careful not to cook too fast, in case the cheese melts too quickly and begins to bubble through the potato). Turn over carefully with a spatula, add the butter to the pan and transfer to the oven for 2 to 3 minutes to finish off.

8.  Mix the grated Fontina into the sauce and spoon it onto 4 serving plates (preferably deep ones). Remove the sformati from the oven,rest each one briefly on a paper towel to blot off any excess butter, and place on top of the sauce.

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