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What Is... Pancetta?

Pancetta is…

Italian-style Bacon. As the word also translates as “belly” or “stomach”, it follows that proper Pancetta is made from pork belly, the underside of the pig.

What does Pancetta look and taste like?

To be honest, it looks mighty similar to Bacon – the same pale silky pink flesh with a layer (or layers when rolled) of luscious fat. As for taste, the best Pancetta brings a gentle porkiness, an almost sweet nuttiness with a complex hint of richness to any dish to which it is added

So is Pancetta the same as Bacon?

Well…. yes and no….and….it depends on what type of bacon you’re comparing it with. There’s the cut of pork to consider and, of equal importance, Authentic Traditional Pancetta is always dried-cured and never, ever smoked. What the two do have in common is that they are both considered raw and need to be cooked before eating.

How do you make Pancetta?

Pork belly is cured in salt with or without herbs, spices & seasonings (e.g. thyme, bay leaves, juniper berries, black pepper, sugar, etc) for a couple of weeks, then washed, rolled into a log, and hung to dry for a further couple of weeks.

How is Pancetta sold?

In Italy, you can buy it cut into miraculously thin slices for wrapping around meat, vegetables, or even fish. In Britain, it is usually sold packeted in cubes (a.k.a. Lardons in France)

What can I cook with Pancetta?

Two classic Italian dishes that absolutely cry out for Pancetta and nothing-else-will-do are Spaghetti Carbonara and a Bolognese Ragu.

Did You Know?

  • The Italians call a middle age spread…. la pancetta (belly) di mezza età (middle age)

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