Roasted Asparagus & Pancetta Quesadillas

A perfect combination of ingredients to make your mouth water: roasted asparagus seasoned with salt and pepper, crisp pancetta and mozzarella cheese sandwiched between two flour tortillas. If you’re in the mood for a little bit of saltiness and tang, this will fit the bill.

I thought of this one day when I had leftover roasted asparagus and wanted something more exciting for lunch. At the time, all I had on hand was bacon. Bacon will work fine with this, but the pancetta just adds something special. It’s Italian bacon that is salt-cured with spices and garlic, so it compliments the asparagus perfectly. I use mozzarella cheese because it is so mild and I want the other two ingredients to stand out.

Ingredients for Quesadillas:
4 flour tortillas
2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (you adjust for how much cheese you like)
1 package thinly sliced pancetta (about 6-8 slices)
1 bunch of fresh asparagus (you will not use the whole bunch, but roast it all for leftovers!)
Salt & pepper, olive oil
Cooking spray

(Makes 2)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Start by rinsing the asparagus and pat them dry. Cut off the woody ends. {Take one stalk and bend it until it snaps. Use that one as a guide to cut the rest.} Put asparagus into a shallow baking sheet in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Use your hands to toss it around so the asparagus gets coated evenly with the olive oil. Roast in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. I like the asparagus tips to get a little crispy.

While the asparagus is in the oven, crisp up the pancetta in a round non-stick skillet over medium heat. Drain on paper towel. Crumble and set aside. Drain out the extra fat left in the pan and give it a quick wipe with a paper towel. You can use this same pan to cook your quesadilla.

When the asparagus is done, cut it up into approx. 1 inch pieces. Now get your tortillas and all your fillings ready and place near the stove.

Give the pan a light coating using cooking spray. Heat up pan over medium heat. Place one tortilla in the pan and evenly sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. You can use as much cheese as you want here…who am I to judge? I usually just cover the tortilla moderately because I want to taste the other additions, but there needs to at least be enough cheese to hold both tortillas together. The cheese is the glue! Next, randomly add the asparagus and then sprinkle on the crumbled pancetta.

Add another layer of cheese on top of the asparagus and pancetta…

and then place the other tortilla on top. At this point I usually press it all down with my hands to help it stick together before I flip it. It should be ready to flip by now so grab a big spatula! When the bottom has become crispy with some golden brown color happening, give it a flip. If you don’t have a huge spatula like I do, use your other hand to help guide it. If the cheese is melting nicely, it shouldn’t come all apart during the flip. Crisp and brown up the other side. Remove from pan and give it a minute or two to rest so all the cheese doesn’t pour out when you cut into it. Slice into quarters and enjoy!

Doesn’t that look good? You can also do this on a grill. I’d love to hear what kind of quesadillas you make…

10 thoughts on “Roasted Asparagus & Pancetta Quesadillas

  1. These look awesome! Any suggestions on what might make a good substitute for pancetta in a vegetarian version? I’ve never thought of asparagus as a quesadilla-appropriate veggie, very creative.

    • I’m sure you could leave it out and it would still be good – but the pancetta (or bacon) adds some salty goodness to it so I’d make sure you season it well with S&P. I’m sorry I don’t know more about vegetarian cooking to suggest something, but maybe someone will see this and have another option for you!

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