A staple of Italian cuisine, pancetta is made from salted and cured pork breast, and is sold in fine slices or cubes. Pancetta can be cooked a number of ways, and there’s no shortage of recipes. Here we present our essential tips on acing pancetta in your kitchen.
Present in a large range of dishes and Italian recipes, pancetta is one of the fundamental ingredients in Italian gastronomy.
While its most famous use is, without a doubt, in carbonara sauce, there are a number of other ways to feature pancetta in dishes. It can be cooked in soups (such as a minestrone base, for example), on pizzas and in quiches. The salted and cured nature of pancetta means you can also enjoy it raw.
In general, sliced or cubed pancetta is cooked stovetop. Because it’s a relatively fatty meat, we don’t recommend adding any more fat to the pan. The pancetta fat will melt and cook the meat. Simply cook the pancetta for a few minutes on each side until it’s crispy.
In the oven
The oven method is a popular one for pancetta. Preheat the oven to 450F degrees. Place your pancetta slices on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake the pancetta for approximately 10 minutes or until the pancetta slices are crispy. If you’re making a pizza, the pancetta slices will cook at the same time as the pizza, so no need to cook them ahead of time. Then simply add them to your recipes.
Pancetta normally keeps for about 3 weeks in the fridge, assuming it’s well protected. Check out our article on everything you need to know about storing deli meats.
To keep your pancetta lasting even longer, consider freezing it.
To your recipes
Now that you know some pancetta cooking techniques, you’re ready to get creative! Here’s a recipe to get started.