Pancetta, a salted pork belly 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 used on its own or in a variety of classic recipes such as spaghetti carbonara. Italian locals as well as lovers of charcuterie meats worldwide revere pancetta for its rich, savory flavor, and melting, sumptuous texture.
What kinds of pancetta are there?
Like bacon, pancetta is made from pork belly, but unlike bacon, which is brined and then smoked, Italian pancetta is only cured with salt and pepper. Pancetta comes in two varieties: Stesa, a flat, thick-cut pancetta typically used in cooking. Arrotolata pancetta 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 antipasti platter, or let it take center stage in a richer version of prosciutto and melon. Rolled pancetta also goes beautifully on a number of sandwiches with Italian breads. Flat Italian pancetta can replace bacon in just about every recipe and is very popular served in spaghetti carbonara. Sautéing it along with your aromatics will add savory layers to bolognese sauce, seafood chowders, gratins, pies, and casseroles.