What is Pancetta? Find out with this quick guide!
Known as “Italian bacon”, pancetta is typically sold in thin, round slices, perfect for snacking, building a hearty hero sandwich, or flavoring a sauce, soup, or stew. Milder than bacon, pancetta has a clean, lightly salty pork flavor which makes it great in so many recipes!
What is Pancetta?
Pancetta is a salt-cured meat product made from pork belly. It is part of a family of pork and beef Italian meats like mortadella, prosciutto, bresaola, capicola, and the more commonly meat-cured products that use pork and beef parts like pepperoni and Cotto salami. Pancetta is cured in a casing, but normally sold sliced or cubed with a thick rind around it. Keep the rind in the recipe for maximum flavor!
Pancetta Vs Bacon Vs Prosciutto
Pancetta is made from the belly of a pig, and bacon can come from basically anywhere there’s a spiral of meat to fat ratio. Prosciutto comes from either hind leg and is meatier but tougher. Bacon is often cured with a variety of seasonings and preservatives, whereas pancetta and prosciutto are cured and air-dried with fewer seasonings. Any kind can be substituted in recipes, although classic Italian dishes call for true “Italian bacon.”
What Does it Taste Like?
Many people will tell you that pancetta tastes a little like bacon. The difference is that bacon which has a distinctly smoky flavor, pancetta tastes lighter, cleaner, and not as salty.
Recipes with Pancetta
It’s easy to incorporate pancetta into recipes! It is especially delicious on an antipasto platter or layered into a gourmet BLT. Diced pancetta brings a bold flavor to pasta main dishes.
Level up your appetizer game by switching bacon for pancetta in these recipes: bacon-wrapped asparagus, bacon-wrapped brussels sprouts, bacon-wrapped scallops, and bacon-wrapped shrimp.
What’s your favorite way to use Pancetta? Be sure to leave a comment below!