Grilled Provolone, Egg and Pancetta Sandwiches

 There are grilled cheese sandwiches, and then there are Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.  Before the teenager left for college, grilled cheese meant American cheese inside two slices of white bread, fried in a little butter until golden brown.  She’s a grilled cheese purist, and hey, that is a perfectly good grilled cheese sandwich.But here in our newly empty nest we are pushing the boundaries a little, grilled cheese-wise.  The empty nest version uses provolone cheese that has been set on top of thinly sliced sourdough bread and put in a skillet with a little butter until the cheese is melted.

While this is happening, we are cooking up some pancetta (thin round Italian bacon, and if you can’t find it, regular bacon will work just fine) until it is just crispy.  While it is draining on paper towels, cook up a couple of fried eggs in that same skillet until they are just set.

Now lay a couple pieces of bacon on top of the melted cheese toast, lay an egg on top, and sprinkle with some grated parmesan cheese and a little basil.  Slice off a bite, making sure to get some of every single ingredient, and chew it up nice and slowly.

Realize that while you miss your teenager like crazy, there are advantages to living in a house where you don’t always have to break out the American cheese when you are making grilled cheese for lunch.

Grilled Provolone, Egg and Pancetta Sandwiches
Serves: 4 sandwiches
  • 12 slices of pancetta (Italian bacon), or 4 regular bacon slices cut into thirds
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 8 thin slices provolone cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • Parmesan cheese shavings
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  1. Cook pancetta or bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels. Reserve skillet with drippings.
  2. Melt butter in extra-large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 4 bread slices; top each with 2 provolone slices. Sprinkle with black pepper. Cook until cheese melts, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat skillet with drippings over medium heat. Crack eggs into skillet; cook until whites are set but yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Set 6 pancetta slices and 2 eggs atop each of 2 cheese toasts. Top eggs with Parmesan, and basil and serve.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit


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  1. Joanne says

    Plain and simple grilled cheese is good, but once in a while you definitely crave something a bit more decadent. This is that craving epitomized.

  2. Shelby says

    Aww, the empty nest is never fun to begin with…I worked at a university for 14 years before we moved to Albany last August and I felt like the mother hen to the kids who had left home and really felt for the mom's! I was lucky enough that my oldest went to the college I worked at but it wasn't long after that the youngest left home and we were alone. Now we have 3 kitties. lol

    NOW, I'm not a big egg person but this photo makes me wish I was! I love the look of the sandwich and will definitely share this with others for you!


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