Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Italian pancetta is a type of dry cured meat. It is pork belly that has been salt cured and spiced (nutmeg, pepper, fennel, dried ground hot peppers and garlic are often featured), and dried for about three months (but usually not smoked). There are many varieties, and in Italy each region produces its own type. In Corsica it is considered a regional flavour.

Pancetta can be rolled (see photograph), or straight (with all the fat on one side). The straight variety is more common in Italy and Spain than elsewhere, especially where home-made pancetta is still produced.

When served on its own, the rolled pancetta is presented in very thin slices. More often it is used to flavour other dishes, especially pasta sauces. Recipes such as all’amatriciana often contain pancetta as a substitute for guanciale, which is much more difficult to find outside of Italy.

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