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I found a link here, on egullet, for a recipe of pancetta. I was amused by the sentence at the bottom "pancetta is not meant to be eaten uncooked".

Is it just cultural? I grew up eating it. In my university cafeteria in Milan, it was the cheapest panino on sale, only 1,000 lire at the time. Nice and comforting for me a panino with pancetta dolce (the fattier pancetta). So, why not eating it raw? And lardo?

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For lunch we often ate my Dads homemade pancetta( or salami,sopressa,) sliced paper thin with bread , table cheese and giardiniera while growing up.

"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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It really depends on who is making the pancetta. I've been to some establishments where the butchers don't hang pancetta long enough for it to be labeled as ready to eat. It is cured and hung until a 20-25% weight loss is achieved, rather than the normal 30% for cured meats, then sold as "raw."

When we make pancetta at the butcher/charcuterie place I work at we also tend to hang for shorter times. I think it is because most Americans tend to cook their pancetta.

Andrew Vaserfirer aka avaserfi

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I've only ever eaten it cooked - always took it to be the Italian bacon equivalent ....

And I think that's the reason most Americans only eat it cooked -- because they think of it as "Italian bacon" (of course, bacon can certainly be cured and smoked enough to eat uncooked).

It also strikes me that Italians in general are more comfortable with eating even lightly cured pork. I certainly know people who would put up pork sausages for the year and begin eating them pretty early on when they were far softer than most any American would be comfortable eating.

--

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It also strikes me that Italians in general are more comfortable with eating even lightly cured pork. I certainly know people who would put up pork sausages for the year and begin eating them pretty early on when they were far softer than most any American would be comfortable eating.

And besides the lightly cured pork, RAW! I still can't get used to smearing raw sausage on bread and eating it in Tuscany. I can't even eat it when they lightly broil it as it's still raw in the middle!

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I think that a lot of the pancetta one gets in the US is less cured than it is in Italy.

I'm surprised: aren't there all sorts of restrictions on the import of uncured/slightly cured meats in the US? I could swear that once it was difficult to get many of them.

I think there's quite a bit of domestic US pancetta. It's not necessarily imported.

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I think that a lot of the pancetta one gets in the US is less cured than it is in Italy.

I'm surprised: aren't there all sorts of restrictions on the import of uncured/slightly cured meats in the US? I could swear that once it was difficult to get many of them.

Much (most?) of the pancetta for sale in the US is domestically produced. And I wonder if a significant amount of it might be wet-cured, as it often looks like it would be about as appetizing to eat raw as a slice of Oscar Mayer bacon.

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I have a real aversion to eating lightly cured or raw meats like that as well. Not sure if it's because I'm American or just the way I am. The rest of my family doesn't seem to feel quite as strongly as I do on the issue, and they're what I would think of as fairly typical American, at least when it comes to food matters.

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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  • 6 months later...

It never occured to me that pancetta could be eaten uncooked until I went to Italy and saw it on the menus for Panini. I ate it there but I won't eat it here.

In the restaurant where I worked and first encountered pancetta, the cooks blanched it. Seemed to me thay were cooking all the flavor out of it. I never do that now.

And now I want Carbonara and there's no Pancetta in the house.

Edited by BarbaraY (log)
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Wow, I'm really intrigued. I love lardo. Now I want to eat pancetta straight up!

But I agree with slkinsey - a lot of the pancetta available here has that wet, American bacon look, wrapped up in its spiral and vacuum sealed in plastic. It doesn't feel like something that's been dry cured and hanging in a salumeria.

I'm guessing that somewhere like Eataly has the right stuff. I shall investigate.

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