Mascarpone Dip with Tomato Jam and Crispy Pancetta Recipe

This combination of mascarpone dip, tomato jam, and crispy pancetta plays with the strategies of dipping and garnishing to enhance a plate. Though it’s got a simple ingredient list, it’s all in the presentation for this one. If you’re into posting “too pretty to eat” meal pics, this is a great recipe for that. But you’ll probably want to eat it.

Mascarpone Dip with Tomato Jam and Crispy Pancetta Recipe

Mascarpone Dip Ingredients

  • 1 container mascarpone cheese for plating
  • Fresh basil for garnish
  • One head of roasted garlic for garnish
  • Crispy Pancetta for Garnish
  • Crusty bread for dipping

For the tomato jam:

Dip Preparation Instructions

  1. Chop the tomatoes (leave skins on, or peel if you prefer) into small cubes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients to a large saucepan, and bring to a boil.
  3. Continue to cook at a simmer, not a full boil, for another 40 minutes to 1 hour or so, until the jam has thickened somewhat, and is glossy. Stir occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan or scorch. When you can just barely start to see the bottom of the pan when you scrape a spoon across the bottom, it’s done.
  4. Pour the hot jam into jars, and allow to cool at room temperature. The jam will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge, or up to a year in the freezer.
  5. To serve, spread mascarpone cheese onto a serving dish and top with cooled tomato jam.
  6. Garnish to your heart’s delight with crispy, pan-fried pieces of diced pancetta. Add further garnish of fresh basil and cloves of roasted garlic.
  7. Serve with crusty bread.

Garnishing Tips

Garnishing is about presentation enhancing the meal. Though the ingredients in this dip and jam are great, what will really make it worth your while is how you present it. The plate is your canvas. You can see how we’ve styled it with the basil leaves at the corners of the plate, which is generally a good rule for how to make the garnish really pop. Less is more, and you don’t want to overcrowd, so you can think of the “rule of thirds” from photography, which divides an image up into three quadrants to freshen up the composition. Some other good garnishes to experiment with are parsley, fennel stalks, or shallots.

Wrap Up

We’ve sourced some of our ingredients from farms local to our Pittsburgh offices, but we encourage you to seek out produce local to wherever you live for the freshest possible meal. This jam also lasts a pretty long time, so you have a guaranteed leftover to use as seasoning for other pasta or bread in the coming weeks.

Recipe and styling by Anna Calabrese Franklin / Story by Emma Riva  / Photography by Dave Bryce

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