Pancetta is a cured meat product made from the pork belly cut. It is produced in two forms, rolled or flat. Bacon can also be made from this cut so what is the difference between pancetta and bacon?
Bacon is salt cured (by brining) and then smoked to preserve it. Pancetta is cured using salt, pepper and sugar and then hung to dry. If it is smoked it is only lightly done and for flavour only.
Preserving meat via various curing techniques was the only way before refrigeration to extend the times of year that meat was available.
It is perfect in pasta dishes, pizza, salads, tasting plates and the list goes on. You just need to remove the rind and cut it to size. It is chewier than bacon and although salty, you can taste the herbs and spices the manufacturer used. There are some with a hefty pepper and chilli punch.
Pancetta is a must have Italian cooking ingredient and as such I have started making my own using a ‘River Cottage‘ recipe. It is early days but I will post how it turns out soon though. 🙂
Here are some more posts about salumi and Italian cusine: