Crispy Pancetta Sandwich (PLT)

A spinoff of the BLT, the PLT is a crispy pancetta sandwich chock full of crunchy lettuce, fresh tomatoes and crumbled gorgonzola. Built on a base of crispy garlic bread, this savory pancetta tomato sandwich is one part BLT and one part wedge salad. And best of all? It’s a 30 minute meal or late night bite!

closeup of ciabatta bread with pancetta, tomatoes and lettuce on a board.

Whoever invented the sandwich (the Earl of Sandwich?) deserves all the honors and accolades in the world. Truly, there is nothing like a really good sandwich for lunch, a late night snack or even breakfast (breakfast burritos are a kind of sandwich, right?). And this crispy pancetta sandwich rivals any because what’s better than a mashup of a wedge salad, a classic BLT and crispy garlic bread?

Adding some Italian flavor, that’s what.

The best BLT sandwich recipe starts with pancetta

lettuce, ciabatta, gorgonzola, tomatoes and pancetta on a wooden board.

This PLT (pancetta, lettuce, tomato) sandwich is built with some key ingredients:

  • cheesy garlic bread
  • Dijon dressed shredded Romaine
  • crispy pancetta
  • thick slices of fresh tomato

What is the difference between pancetta and bacon?

Typically called “Italian bacon”, pancetta also comes from the pork belly but is unsmoked unlike bacon which is smoked. Pancetta, like bacon, has to be cooked unless the package states its pre-cooked.


How to keep pancetta from curling while cooking

  • Lay a sheet pan with parchment paper
  • Space pieces of pancetta on prepped sheet pan and cover with another piece of parchment paper [left]
  • Cover the parchment paper with another sheet pan of the same size [center].
  • Bake in preheated oven until crispy [right].

Best bread for a wedge sandwich or BLT

So many good options but ciabatta is a great choice of bread for a blt especially if you’re making it into garlic bread first.

Other good breads for blt sandwiches are:

  • sourdough
  • Italian bread
  • sliced French loaf

Step by step instructions

  • Prepare ciabatta garlic bread by slicing the roll in half and spread on mixed garlic paste spread. Toast in the oven until crispy [left].
  • Shred romaine lettuce and toss with olive oil, red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside [center].
  • Layer sandwich in the following order:
    1. garlic bread half
    2. Romaine salad mix
    3. crumbled gorzonzola
    4. crispy, cooked pancetta
    5. thickly sliced tomato
    6. second garlic bread half

Tips for the best PLT sandwich

  • Don’t skip the salad dressing step because that adds so much tangy flavor!
  • If you’re not a gorgonzola cheese fan, other options are thickly, shredded parmesan, romano or asiago or even some crumbled feta.
  • Go to your favorite farm stand for a beautiful juicy garden tomato.
  • Only assemble as many sandwiches as you need per person. This will keep your pancetta sandwich crispy and fresh!

Other PLT add-ins

Get creative! So many options for toppings for a pancetta tomato sandwich. Suggestions to start with:

Make ahead and storage tips

open faced pancetta, lettuce, tomato sandwich.

Make ahead suggestions

  • Toss the romaine salad mix and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.
  • Crisp up the pancetta up to 2 hours ahead and remove to paper towels to drain.

Storage

You can wrap leftover sandwiches in parchment paper and then plastic wrap.

I do not recommend freezing this sandwich.

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


half a pancetta sandwich on a cutting board.
5 from 1 vote

Crispy Pancetta Sandwich

Like a BLT, this crispy pancetta sandwich is full of crunchy lettuce, fresh tomatoes and crumbled gorgonzola. Built on a base of easy crispy garlic bread, this fresh tomato sandwich is one part BLT and one part wedge salad. And best of all? It's a 30 minute meal or late night bite!
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes
Total Time:25 minutes
Servings 4

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 4 ciabatta rolls, split in half
  • 2 garden tomatoes, firm and cored

For the Dijon Romaine Mix

For garlic bread

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°.

For Romaine Mix

  • Shred romaine lettuce and toss with the olive oil and red wine vinegar. Add ½ tsp Dijon mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in gorgonzola.
    2 cups shredded Romaine lettuce, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, ¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola

For pancetta

  • Lay sheet pan with parchment paper. Top with pancetta and another piece of parchment paper and cover with another sheet pan. Place the pancetta in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until crispy.
    8 slices pancetta
  • Carefully remove the top sheet pan (the clean unused one) and place paper towels inside to drain the crispy pancetta on.

For garlic bread

  • In a small bow, mix the softened butter with the minced garlic until a paste forms. Stir in the parmesan cheese, kosher salt and oregano and red pepper if using.
    3 cloves garlic, ¼ cup butter, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, ¼ teaspoon oregano, ⅕ teaspoon kosher salt, crushed red pepper
  • Lay rolls open faced on a sheet pan and spread with garlic paste. Bake until crispy and toasted while the pancetta is baking.
    4 ciabatta rolls

Assemble the sandwich

  • Slice tomatoes
    2 garden tomatoes
  • On on ½ of a ciabatta roll layer:
    Romaine mix
    crispy pancetta
    sliced tomatoes
    second half of ciabatta.

Notes

Use this easy ciabatta garlic bread recipe as the base for your sandwich.
Make ahead tips:
  • Crisp up the pancetta up to 2 hours ahead. Leave at room temp or after completely cooled, wrap in paper towel and place in a ziploc bag.
  • Mix up the garlic paste up to 1 week ahead.
Store leftovers in the fridge wrapped in parchment.
Course: Appetizer, Sandwiches
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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