Think of pancetta as the Italian, more aromatic version of bacon.
But unlike bacon, pancetta is usually rolled instead of flat, and crusted with spices like fennel seed and black pepper instead of being smoked.
Like bacon, pancetta adds meaty richness to everything from pastas to salads, but it boasts a subtle, spicy intensity that's all its own.
Slicing and Dicing
Thinly sliced pancetta turns crisp when baked or sauteed. Diced and sauteed, a thick slice of pancetta makes a chewy topping for salads and pasta. It can also be chopped to give flavor to sauces and stews.
At the Store, at Home
Pancetta is available at many supermarkets and sold in chunks at the deli counter or in packaged slices in the refrigerator case.
Refrigerate, wrapped in plastic, up to 1 week, or freeze up to 2 months.