Popular in Emilia-Romagna's countryside, thin slices of coarse-grained bread are rubbed with garlic, lightly toasted, then topped with pancetta and run under the broiler. On a lazy Sunday afternoon with friends, set out the antipasto and invite everyone to help themselves.
Working Ahead: The bread can be toasted several hours ahead. Let it cool and then wrap it. Store at room temperature. Top the bread with pancetta and broil just before serving.
Toasting the Crostini: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the baguette into 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices. Rub the slices with the split garlic cloves and brush lightly with olive oil. Arrange on a baking sheet, and bake about 8 minutes, or until they are starting to crisp but not brown. Remove and set aside.
Finishing the Crostini: Shortly before serving, preheat the broiler. Top each piece of bread with a thin slice of pancetta, and arrange them on the baking sheet. Run it under the broiler, keeping the slices about 3 inches from the flame. Broil until the pancetta begins to seethe and soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve hot.
Wine suggestions: A young red Sangiovese di Romagna, a Valpolicella Classico from the Veneto, or the Piedmont's Barbera.
From The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food by Lynne Rossetto Kasper (Morrow, 1992). © 1992 by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. All rights reserved.
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