“I treat sandwiches like a meal. That’s why I have no problem using pasta as a topping. The way I think of it, you eat garlic bread with pasta, so why not combine the whole experience into a sandwich?”Josh Elkin
• 1 cup bacon, chopped
• 1 French roll, cut in half lengthwise
• 4 to 6 slices pepper jack cheese
• 1 cup orecchiette
• ½ cup shredded pepper jack cheese
• 1 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch slices
• 1 cup basil leaves
• ½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded• ½ cup olive oil
• 1 large clove garlic, minced
• ¼ cup pine nuts (optional)
- Bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil. Season heavily with salt. Add pasta and cook for 8 minutes. Drain, reserving pasta and ½ cup of the water. Put pasta back in the pot and cover to keep warm.
- Cook bacon over medium-high heat in a frying pan for 5 minutes. Add a splash of water to render the fat. Continue cooking for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Extract the bacon from the grease, chop and set aside.
- Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Add to the frying pan and cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
- To make the pesto, combine the basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil in a food processor. Blend until everything is combined into a spreadable sauce.
- Add the pasta and bacon to the frying pan with chicken. Mix vigorously over medium-high heat. Add shredded cheese and mix until the cheese is melted. Add the pesto sauce and continue mixing. Slowly add a bit of the reserved pasta water until a sauce forms. Make sure it’s not too thin. (Add water if it’s too thick.)
- Assemble the sandwich. Add enough sliced cheese to cover each half of the bread. Cover one side with pasta mixture and close with the other half.
- Preheat a skillet with butter or oil to medium-low. Add your sandwich, then press a heavy pan on top to weigh it down. Cook until it’s golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add a splash of water to create steam, making sure your cheese is melted. Slice the sandwich and enjoy.