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What is Pancetta?

Pancetta, a salted pork product, is a mainstay of the Italian larder, and, indeed, one of the most iconic ingredients the country has to offer. Often referred to as “Italian bacon,” pancetta can be on its own or used in a variety of recipes. Locals to Italy as well as lovers of charcuterie and cured meats worldwide revere pancetta for its rich, savory flavor, melting, sumptuous texture and the incredible taste and body it lends to cooking. Read More

The History of Pancetta

Records of Italians eating pancetta have been around since the days of Ancient Rome. Legend even has it that three slices of the cured meat were given to Legionnaires as daily rations.

How is Pancetta Made?

Like bacon, pancetta is made from pork belly. Unlike bacon, which is brined and then smoked, Italian pancetta is only cured with salt and seasoned with pepper. The result is a flavorful, but less strong taste that works in both sweet and savory dishes.

Pancetta comes in two varieties, which have different uses. Stesa, or flat pancetta, is the thick-cut product that one typically uses to cook. Arrotolata, or rolled pancetta, is a thinly sliced version which is generally eaten raw in antipasti or sandwiches.

What Can I Make with Pancetta?

Best enjoyed raw, pancetta arrotolata is perfect for entertaining. It’s a natural choice to include in an antipasto platter, or let it take center stage in a rich version of the always-popular prosciutto and melon. Wrap thin slices around bright, juicy fruit of your choice — we suggest cantaloupe, peach or apple. Rolled pancetta also goes beautifully on a number of sandwiches, or even eaten plain with hunks of fresh Italian bread.

When it comes to flat Italian pancetta, the sky’s the limit. It can replace bacon or salt pork in recipes. Sautéing it along with your aromatics will add savory layers to any recipe you choose. Home cooks like to use it as a base for hearty classics like Bolognese sauce, seafood chowders, gratins, pies, and casseroles. It can also be cut into thick lardons and used in classic French cafe dishes such as Lyonnaise salad.

Pancettas most famous use is perhaps spaghetti carbonara. Never made it? Try our recipe for a perfect plate of pasta.

Supermarket Italy’s Perfect Spaghetti Carbonara

1 packet Italian spaghetti or other long-strand pasta
1 cup dice
d pancetta
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 eggs, thoroughly beaten
¼ cup half and half
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp black pepper

1. Boil a big pot of water. Meanwhile in a heavy-bottomed pan, cook pancetta and garlic together until fat has been rendered and the garlic is fragrant and soft. Remove from heat.
2. When water boils, add plenty of water and your spaghetti. Cook until al dente.
3. While the pasta cooks, combine eggs, half and half, and parmesan cheese.
4. As soon as the pasta is ready, drain and return to the pan. Working quickly, stir the pancetta and garlic mixture through the pasta, thoroughly coating all the strands with the fat. Add the egg mixture and stir thoroughly
5. Top with black pepper and more cheese.

Where To Buy Pancetta

In Italy, pancetta can be found everywhere from artisan markets to major grocery stores. In the US, gourmet food shops and Italian butchers and delis often sell pancetta.

With a wide range of Italian and European products, free shipping on orders over $50 and all in-stock inventory at our warehouse, Supermarket Italy is the best online space for all of your Italian grocery needs. Visit our website today to find the best deals on Italian pancetta.