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Rolled pancetta can be thinly sliced and served as antipasto,
or cooked crisp and tossed with pastas or vegetables like green beans
While American and English bacon is taken from the sides and belly of the pig and smoked, pancetta comes only from the belly. It has a more piquant (rather than smoky) flavor, and it lends a savory-sweet taste to an abundance of dishes, particularly risottos, pastas, soups and sauces. In Italy, there are numerous recipes titled "all'amatriciana," meaning "with pancetta."
VarietiesThe most common type of pancetta is rolled, but it can sometimes be found in straight, bacon-like slabs with all the fat on one side. In Italy, different regions produce their own special varieties. Southern Italians, for example, favor a spicy version dry-rubbed with ground red pepper.
Buying TipsPancetta can be found in Italian markets or the deli section of many supermarkets where it can be sliced to order. It is also available pre-packaged in thin slices or whole rolls that are ready to be sliced or chopped as desired.
Storage TipsPancetta can be tightly wrapped and refrigerated for up to three weeks, or frozen for up to six months.
Substitution TipsWhen pancetta is not available, try an unsmoked lean bacon or fatty prosciutto.
Usage Tips• Slice very thin and add to antipasto trays.
• Sauté until crisp and toss with warm green beans.
• Toss into a butter lettuce salad with Anjou pears and toasted walnuts.
• Use as a pizza topping along with fontina cheese and red bell peppers.
• Bake slices until crisp and golden and top with goat cheese.
• Sauté with butter and stir into your favorite cornbread batter.
Try one of our favorite pancetta recipes:
Chicken Marsala with Pancetta and Cream
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