How to Make It
In a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate; leave the fat in the skillet.
Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and softened, about 8 minutes. Add the shallot and thyme and cook, stirring, until the shallot is softened. Add the Madeira and cook until evaporated, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Stir in the cream, season with salt and pepper and simmer until the ragout is slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the pancetta.
More Saucy Ideas: The ragout can be stirred into pasta or risotto, folded into omelets, spooned onto crostini or poured over polenta.
Master Sauce recipe adapted from Get Saucy, by Grace Parisi, copyright ©2005, with permission from Harvard Common Press, 535 Albany St., Boston, MA 02118.