This recipe merges two Italian classics: Pasta Carbonara and Mozzarella en Carozza. From an American perspective, the latter is already a hybrid - eggy French toast meets grilled cheese. I'd sometimes add a little chopped anchovy, fresh sage or basil to the filling and eventually pancetta found its way in too. Eggs and pancetta made me think of Pasta Carbonara, which led to adding grated parmesan and freshly ground black pepper to the batter. These sandwiches are nice with a simple salad for a quick dinner, or for brunch. Cut into smaller pieces, they also go well with drinks. —amysarah
Slices of white bread cut fairly thin, crusts removed, if you prefer*
Large ball fresh mozzarella (around 8 oz.,) sliced around ¼ inch or less thick
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper
Pancetta, sliced and roughly chopped (about 1/2" pieces)
Fry the chopped pancetta until well browned, but not crispy. Drain on paper towel and put aside.
Lay the sliced mozzarella evenly over four pieces of bread. Sprinkle the cooked pancetta over the cheese and top each with the remaining bread, pressing down lightly.
Whisk together the eggs, milk and parm until smooth. Whisk in a pinch of salt (the pancetta and parm are salty, so go easy) and several grinds of black pepper, about 1/4 teaspoon, or to taste. Meanwhile, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a big skillet to coat. (I use nonstick.)
Gently submerge the sandwiches in the egg batter until well saturated (but not to the point of disintegrating.) Flip and repeat.
Fit as many sandwiches as possible without crowding in the hot pan and cook on a medium flame until golden brown. Adjust the heat if they brown too fast - you want the egg custard to cook through and the cheese to melt. Add a little more oil if necessary and flip to cook the other sides. When done, the sandwiches can be kept warm in a low oven for a few minutes. To serve, cut each in half; if serving with drinks, cut in four or six pieces.
*Most recipes for Mozzarella in Carozza say to remove the crusts, but I rarely bother. It’s a homey, simple dish after all.