Pancetta is an Italian cured meat made from pork belly, it comes in either lardons (cubes) or sliced into fine rashers.
How you cook pancetta
Lardons are used in all kinds of recipes such as the Italiana favourite carbonara. Its a traditional ingredient in many Italian risotto and pasta dishes. The cubes are added to a hot pan and fried until the meat has darkened, this usually takes about 5 minutes. Pancetta rashers can be fried and bake. A delicious and easy dinner idea is to wrap pancetta around a chicken breast and bake it in the oven.
If you can’t get your hands on pancetta a good alternative is bacon. They are similar in the way they look and can be cooked in the same way. The difference between the two is how they’re prepared and cured.
Pancetta is cured with salt and flavoured with spices to give the meat a particular flavour. Bacon, on the other hand, is not usually spiced.
Pancetta and health
Even though it is cured pancetta is still considered raw and should be cooked thoroughly before eating. It is safe to eat pancetta while you are pregnant, just make sure its properly cooked!
There are about 458 calories per 100g of pancetta. Pancetta on its own contains no carbohydrates, sugars and no dietary fibre.
Pancetta and prosciutto
Pancetta is sometimes confused with prosciutto because of their similar sounding names, however, they are very different! Prosciutto is usually only sold in slices and is cured for much longer, which means you can eat it raw. In some cases, you can substitute pancetta with prosciutto but it would depend on the recipe.
Recipes with pancetta
Pancetta is a wonderful, flavourful meat, and because of how easy it is to cook it is a firm favourite for busy people around the world, we suggest trying spaghetti with pancetta and peas! It’s ready in only about 20 minutes! We would also suggest getting creative and adding pancetta to you next salad as an added bit of flavour!