- Vegetable oil cooking spray
- 16 thin slices pancetta
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 12 dried black mission figs
- 3 tablespoons brandy or apple juice
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted (see Cook's Notes)
- 4 ciabatta rolls, halved lengthwise
- 8 ounces Brie, rind removed, cut into 8 slices (see Cook's Notes)
For the pancetta: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 2 baking sheets with vegetable oil cooking spray. Arrange the pancetta in a single layer on each baking sheet. Bake until golden and crispy, about 10 to 12 minutes.
For the jam: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, figs, and brandy (or apple juice) over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Pour into a food processor and add the hazelnuts. Blend until smooth and thick.
Preheat a panini press. Spread the bottom half of each roll with the jam. Place 4 slices of cooked pancetta on top and add 2 slices of cheese. Place the top half of the roll on top of the cheese. Grill in a panini maker until the bread is toasted and the cheese has melted, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool slightly and serve.
-To toast the hazelnuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly toasted. Cool completely before using.
- For easier slicing, freeze the cheese for 15 minutes
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis