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Monday, April 4, 2011

It's All In The Skillet!

My husband says that I am a “messy” cook. What he means is that I use far more pots and pans when cooking than he thinks is necessary, especially since he’s the chief dishwasher at our house. My quick response goes something like this. “If you want boring food, I can be neat in the kitchen!”  Typically the conversation winds down after that.

Well, the following recipe will definitely please my spouse (and dishwashers everywhere!). As the name implies, a single pan is all you need to prepare it. A glorious mélange of baby potatoes, brown mushrooms, and pancetta are sautéed, then roasted, and finally served in one large, heavy skillet. The golden potatoes and tender mushrooms, seasoned with thyme and garlic, make a mouthwatering garnish to offer with rosemary-scented, sautéed lamb chops and roasted asparagus. Or, try them with garlic-rubbed, grilled flank steaks and an arugula salad tossed in lemon juice and olive oil. Better yet, top them with fried or poached eggs for a brunch entrée accompanied by toasted sourdough bread.

However you serve these delectable potatoes and mushrooms, you’ll only have one pan to wash at the end of the meal!

Skillet Roasted Potatoes, Mushrooms, and Pancetta

4 oz pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 tbsp olive oil, plus additional if necessary
1 lb baby Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, and quartered
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
10 oz brown mushrooms (also called baby bellas), quartered
6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and halved crosswise
2 tsp dried thyme
Several fresh thyme sprigs for garnish, optional

Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large, heavy 10-inch ovenproof frying pan (preferably cast iron) set over medium heat, sauté the pancetta until golden and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels.

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings from the pan. (If you don’t have 2 tablespoons, add olive oil to make this amount.) When hot, add the potatoes and sauté, stirring, until they start to take on a little color, 5 to 7 minutes. Salt and pepper the potatoes and place the frying pan in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes.

Remove the frying pan from the oven and add the mushrooms, garlic, and 3 tablespoons of oil. Season the mixture with thyme and with more salt and pepper. Toss to coat well.

Return the pan to the oven and roast until potatoes are golden brown and tender and mushrooms are softened, for 15 minutes more. Remove the frying pan from the oven and stir in the reserved pancetta. If desired, garnish the center of the pan with several thyme sprigs. Serve warm.
Serves 4


  1. It looks like a perfect meal for a rainy night. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I made this recipe for dinner tonight and it's incredibly easy to make and delicious. A win-win in my book. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  3. I know this is my third message, but I just had to tell you about what I did with the left overs. Because there are only two of us, I had two portions left from last night. Instead of just reheating the mix in a skillet, I beat three eggs mixed with a bit of milk and made an omelet. I'm not sure which I like better, the original dish or the omelet--both are so good. I did saute the mix for a few minutes with some fresh thyme and freshly ground pepper before I added the beaten egg and milk mix. For the eggs, I brought the temperature down to medium low so the eggs would cook slowly to absorb the flavors.