What is the deal with pancetta? Is it just fancy, more expensive, hard to find bacon? Is it really necessary in recipes or can you swap pancetta out with bacon? Why do people use pancetta? Is it really THAT much better than bacon? I've got a lot of questions. 🥓🤷🏻♀️
I used to be able to buy pancetta from the deli department in my local grocery store. They've recently stopped carrying it though and the only way that I can buy it now is in the prepackaged, sliced deli meat and cheese case. I'm not a pancetta expert so I really don't know if this kind of pre-packaged pancetta is any good or if I'd be better off with bacon. Where are my pancetta experts? Can you help a girl out? I need answers.
I did a little research and I found out that the biggest difference between bacon and pancetta is that bacon is smoked and cured and pancetta is seasoned, rolled and cured. I'd say that pancetta is the Italian cousin of bacon. It's used for things like soups, pastas and risottos. Most cooks believe that one can be swapped for the other in most recipes as long as you keep in mind that bacon will add a smoky flavor that pancetta will not.
This simple pasta and cheese recipe is what first stirred all of this bacon/pancetta curiosity. Changing just one of the five ingredients in the recipe can really alter the results. I decided to do a little of my own research. I made one batch with pancetta and the other batch with bacon. The results were inconclusive. We liked both pasta dishes. They were different but both were delicious. How's that for ambiguous?
Pasta with Pancetta and Pecorino
8 ounces pancetta, sliced 1/4" thick
1 Tablespoon oil
1 pound pasta
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
Reduce heat to low and add pasta, pancetta and pecorino. Stir 1 minute.
Serve with additional pepper and pecorino.
Hey pancetta people - where you at? Send me the information that you know about pancetta and any advice that you have for this novice pancetta user. I need support and more importantly - I need to know where I can buy great pancetta in the greater Atlanta area. 😂
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