Cook onions, thyme, bay leaves, and salt in butter in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, uncovered, stirring frequently, until onions are very soft and deep golden brown, about 45 minutes (be patient and wait till the onions really are browning). Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in wine and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in broth, water, and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
While soup simmers, put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Arrange bread in 1 layer on a large baking sheet and toast, turning over once, until completely dry, about 15 minutes.
Remove croûtes from oven and preheat broiler. Put crocks in a shallow baking pan.
Discard bay leaves and thyme from soup and divide soup among crocks, then float a croûte in each. Slice enough Gruyère (about 6 ounces total) with cheese plane to cover tops of crocks, allowing ends of cheese to hang over rims of crocks, then sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until cheese is melted and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes.
Heat heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and sauté until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate. Place lettuce in large bowl. (Dressing, pancetta, and lettuce can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let dressing and pancetta stand at room temperature. Cover lettuce with damp kitchen towel and refrigerate.)
2 quarts whole milk
1 c heavy cream
½ tsp salt
3 T fresh lemon juice
Line a large sieve with a layer of heavy-duty (fine-mesh) cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.
Slowly bring milk, cream, and salt to a rolling boil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.
Pour the mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain 1 hour. After discarding the liquid, chill the ricotta, covered; it will keep in the refrigerator 2 days.
1 c unsalted butter
3 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 c white sugar
½ c cocoa powder (sifted)
½ c mascarpone cheese
3 large eggs, at room-temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ c all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
6 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 T whipping cream
3 T unsalted butter