Party season warm-up: pancetta and potato croquettes

Pancetta and potato croquettes

Pancetta and potato croquettes

About 18 croquettes

Are you getting ready for party season? Easter is around the corner and I’m sure some of you will host the legendary Easter lunch. Personally I’m starting working on the menu for Her Majesty’s First Communion party.Β 

Every time I work on a menu for an event, I always start from the appetizers. After all they are the “preview” of the quality of the food that will be served during the event. They are critical to help creating that magical atmosphere (along with champagne glasses and colorful cocktails, of course!) when everybody gets to be cheerful and relaxed and starts to have a good time.

Potato croquettes are pretty popular in my house and they are such a tasty appetizer. I usually dip the croquettes in some bread crumbs and fry them in olive oil. However, an idea has been fluctuating in my mind lately. With the same potato mixture, I wanted to make something a little more sophisticated from the presentation point of view and a little less messy from the cooking point of view. So I put the mixture in a mini muffin pan, added cheese and bacon on top of every muffin and baked them. The result was fantastic. The crunchiness of the top contrasted beautifully with the softness of the inside. After the first tasting of my little experiment, I had a few croquettes left, so I warmed them in the oven the next day. And they tasted just perfect! A total blessing when you have to cook for a party, since they can be made the day before.

This recipe is just my basic mashed potatoes to which I add a couple of yolks. I tend to keep food pretty simple because of Her Majesty’s taste. However, feel free to use your own mashed potato recipe instead or to adapt mine the way you like, by adding a few herbs for example. After all, recipes are just suggestions that every cook should change according to their taste. πŸ™‚

Ingredients:

3 medium size potatoes
2 Tbsp, butter
1/2 cup, heavy cream or milk
6 Tbsp, grated Parmigiano cheese
2 egg yolks
3 oz, pancetta, finely chopped
1/2 cup Emmental cheese, shredded
Salt
Ground black pepper
Ground nutmeg

Pancetta and potato croquettes

Pancetta and potato croquettes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Peel the potatoes, cut them in half and rinse them under runningΒ water. Bring a pot of water to simmer and place the potatoes in the pot. Cook the potatoes for about 30 minutes or until they are cooked through. Check with a fork: if the fork easily slides into the potatoes with no resistance, the potatoes are done.

In a non-stick pot, melt the butter on a very low heat. Drain the potatoes and, when the butter is completely melted, place them into the pot. With the help of a potato masher, mash the potatoes very well. Add the Parmigiano and the heavy cream and mash again. Add some salt, pepper and nutmeg (to taste) and toss to coat. Turn the burner off and let the mashed potatoes cool down for about 10 minutes. Add the yolks and toss to coat.

Place the potato mixture into a pastry bag and fillΒ the greased and floured molds of a mini muffin pan. Sprinkle the top of each muffin/croquette with some shredded cheese and some pancetta and bake for about 15 minutes.

Remove the muffin pan from the oven and let the croquettes cool for at least 10 minutes before taking them out of their mold – otherwise they will fall apart.Β 

Serve with a glass of what you like the most (in my case champagne! πŸ˜‰ )

Bye for now!

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0 thoughts on “Party season warm-up: pancetta and potato croquettes

  1. Karen

    I know your little princess has to be very excited about her big day. Your croquettes and a glass of Champagne will certainly start the meal perfectly. I love the idea that these can be made the day before and then reheated…just what is needed when having a party.

  2. ChgoJohn

    The Princess is having her First Holy Communion? How special is that, Francesca! It will be a big day for her and your family. These croquettes must be very tasty. The ingredients certainly are: potatoes, cheese, and pancetta. “These are a few of my favorite things …” I bet leftovers would make a great breakfast on the run. Well, if there are any leftovers. πŸ™‚

    1. Francesca Post author

      Very special indeed! She is tremendously excited and many members of our families are coming from Italy. My parents are already here! πŸ™‚ Thank you, John, for your kind words.

  3. Coffee and Crumpets

    Hi Francesca! Love your blog and glad I stumbled across it. Potato croquettes bring back all sorts of lovely memories for me. I used to eat them by the plateful growing up. We used to get a boxed kind in England and my mum would make them up. I’m sure these are far superior and they look so good. I have a weakness for potatoes. Good luck with the Communion preparations.

    1. Francesca Post author

      Hello Nazneen!
      Thank you very much for your lovely words. So glad you stumbled across me! πŸ™‚ I’ve just subscribed to your wondeful blog. I look forward to reading your posts.
      Have a great weekend!

  4. Just Add Attitude

    I really, really like this idea Francesa and well done for thinking of it. I consider mashed potatoes with loads of butter to be both divine the very best sort of comfort food. I love the way your recipe adds richness and sophistication to the mash mix and I like too that the croquettes are baked rather than deep fried.

    I hope that Her Majesty’s first communion day is a lovely one filled with happy family memories to cherish. πŸ˜‰

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you so much, B.! I love potatoes too. I would eat them every day if I could but, after five months spent indoor because of the freezing weather and the consequential constant snacking, my scale tells me that they are a big no no … sad so sad … πŸ™‚

    1. Francesca Post author

      Patty, it looks more complicated that actually is. You can totally make it! I remember my first times with the mashed potatoes. Total disaster and Stefano, my husband, was hypercritical. πŸ™‚ But, as they say, practice makes perfect. πŸ™‚

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you! I’m with you. I have nothing against frying but it is so messy and time-consuming that most of the time I end up cooking something else. Lazy, lazy girl! πŸ˜‰

  5. Heather @ Sweet Precision

    What a fantastic idea Francesca! Things you can make ahead for a party are such a time saver in terms of prep work. As a bonus, I bet they are even a little healthier being baked instead of friend. I love the the the thought you had of using muffin tins πŸ™‚ After an appetizer like this, I look forward to hearing about the meal!

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you, Heather! When I host a party I tried to cook most of the food the day before because I like to work on final decoration touches on the party day: flowers, candles, napkin arrangements … my hair. πŸ™‚ And I try not to smell of fried food. I don’t think the guests would appreciate that. πŸ˜‰

  6. Dina

    I love this recipe, Francesca, I have saved it and I’ll try it out. I’m sure the croquettes tastes as good as they look. Totally yummy! πŸ™‚ If it works well for me, I’ll offer to make those for my nephew’s confirmation in Norway at the end of the month.

    At the moment I’m at the London airport waiting for my flight to take me back to Germany and work – (8 days delayed, due to a strike!). Yesterday we went out with friends to have a big farewell meal and… I met 2 gorgeous labradors, brothers at the age of eight, I was down on the floor and all over them, they were so cute and well behaving. We spoke about Sofia, so glad to see that she she doing so well!

    All the best for Her Majesty’s First Communion party! I’m sure she going to look like a little princess indeed. πŸ™‚
    Dina xo

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you, Dina! Last week Stefano took some pictures of Sofia. Hopefully, he will publish them very soon so you can judge by yourself. I think I survived the worst and now it’s kind of fun to be around her but don’t tell anyone I said that. πŸ˜‰
      Back to the croquettes, hopefully they will work for you and find their own way to a Norwegian table. That would be awesome!
      Love,
      F. Xx

  7. Tracy Lee Karner

    Brilliant–I love croquettes, but only make them 2 or 3 times a year, because I don’t love the extra fat or the mess of frying. We have a passel of potatoes that need eating up right now — guess what I’m making tonight?

      1. Tracy Lee Karner

        Yes–much more! It’s been a life-saver for me. I just read a post a few minutes ago by someone who, like me, has to often retreat from the noise and commotion of the world to settle her ultra-sensative central nervous system. I can only “handle” a social or business function attended by more than 4 people once a week or less— but I’m not anti-social. I LOVE people. Blogging keeps me from isolation, lets me enter into conversations with people in a format and on terms I can handle well.

        1. Francesca Post author

          I totally agree about blogging being a fantastic way to handle conversations on your own terms. That’s way I like it. However, I’m afraid I’m an antisocial! πŸ™‚

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you, Suzanne! Give it a try when you have a chance. For you, it’s going to be a walk in the park! About her majesty being happy … we’ll see about that! Lately, she has been … hypercritical. πŸ™‚