Grilled Cheese with Fennel and Pancetta



  • 7 tablespoons Darigold butter, divided
  • 1 fennel bulb, top removed, bulb cored and very thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • ¼ pound thinly sliced pancetta
  • 8 slices whole-grain artisan bread
  • 2 cups shredded Darigold sharp cheddar cheese


Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fennel, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently until the fennel is lightly browned. Add ¼ cup water and continue to cook until fennel is tender and water has evaporated (10-15 minutes total). Transfer to a bowl. Add another tablespoon of butter and the pancetta to the skillet and cook pancetta until browned on both sides (5-6 minutes). Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Spread 4 slices of bread on a cutting board. Top each slice with ½ cup of the cheese, pancetta and fennel, dividing evenly. Cover with the remaining bread and press sandwiches together.

Melt half the remaining butter in the skillet over medium-high heat and brush onto the tops of the sandwiches. Add two of the sandwiches to the skillet, melted butter side up, and cook, occasionally pressing down with a spatula until the underside of the sandwich is browned. Turn and cook the sandwich until bottoms are browned and cheese is melted. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches and butter.


Makes 4 servings.