Carbonara Stuffed Potatoes with Crispy Pancetta

Our Chopped Dinner Challenge this week was pancetta, a kind of Italian unsmoked bacon. We wanted to do a spin on the classic spaghetti carbonara[ and crossed it with a twice-baked potato for crispy, cheesy, eggy comfort. Chopped Basket Ingredient: pancetta]

Total Time:
45 min
Prep:
5 min
Inactive:
5 min
Cook:
35 min

Yield:
4 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced 1/4-inch (about 1 cup)
  • 4 medium russet potatoes (about 3 pounds), scrubbed and dried thoroughly
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about 3 cups)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced (white and dark green parts kept separate)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F with a rack set on the middle shelf.

  • Cook the pancetta with 1 tablespoon water in a large saute pan over medium heat until crispy and most of the fat has rendered, 10 to 12 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, cook the potatoes. Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork and put in a large paper bag. Fold the top of the bag over several times. Microwave on high for about 15 minutes, carefully flipping the bag every 5 minutes. The potatoes are done once a cake tester or skewer easily pierces the flesh. Remove the potatoes from the bag and put on a baking sheet. Allow the potatoes to cool for 5 minutes.

  • Once the pancetta is crispy, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Stir the half-and-half, a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper into the rendered fat.

  • Use a sharp paring knife to cut a lengthwise slit in the center of each potato. Carefully remove the flesh, leaving about 1/2-inch around the inside. Reserve 1/2 cup of the potato flesh for another use. Place the remaining flesh in a mixing bowl along with the half-and-half mixture, 2 1/2 cups of the Parmesan, the scallion whites, half of the pancetta and a large pinch of salt. Mash with a potato masher until mostly smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

  • Scoop the mashed potato mixture back into the skins. Make a large well in each potato deep enough to hold an egg and crack an egg into the well. Bake until the egg is just starting to set, about 10 minutes.

  • Remove the potatoes and cover the eggs with the remaining Parmesan. Switch the oven to broil and broil until the eggs no longer wiggle when you shake the baking sheet, 3 to 5 minutes, checking frequently.

  • To serve, top each potato with the reserved crispy pancetta and scallion greens and serve immediately.

Cook's Note: It's important to serve these right away as the potato holds a lot of heat and will continue to cook the egg if left to sit.


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