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Cooking with and Serving Pancetta


hillvalley
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I like pancetta, but I LOVE guanciale! The guanciale we sell (and I use all the time) is from Niman Ranch. It's not smoked but cured with rosemary, coriander and salt. It's a bit salty, so I rarely add salt to the dish I'm making. My favorite so far has been a salad started by sauteeing the guanciale, removing it from the pan, sauteeing mushrooms and onions in the fat, adding sherry vinegar and mustard, pouring hot vinaigrette over spinach and crumbling some blue d'auvergne with the crispy bits on top. This salad is packed with flavor, fat, and low in carbs!

Lisa K

Lavender Sky

"No one wants black olives, sliced 2 years ago, on a sandwich, you savages!" - Jim Norton, referring to the Subway chain.

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I second the carbonara. I would use fettuccine.

I like to add my eggs at the very end. I would take a serving of hot fettuccine mixed with the other heated ingredients, and crack the egg over the top, mix and serve. It is great this way.

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I always mix my warmed ( in pancetta pan so you get the yummy flavours) cream and eggs together, (2 yolks to one white) along with some fresh grated parmesan and heaps of black pepper, ....then tip on top of the hot pasta in a heated dish. Not the pan it was cooked in. This way, you are preventing that horrible undesired curdled effect!

Had a debate a few weeks ago on a board I USED to belong to re Carbonara. Interesting that some add tomatoes, and someone was lamenting the fact that the traditional recipe did not include vinegar. :blink:

????

BTW, anyone about familiar with Culatello? Has to be my favourite Italian cured meat.

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Please no cream in my Carbonara - there is a good thread on that HERE in the Italy Forum.

Pancetta is indeed more a category of product that just one thing. The small store in our little village offers 5 or 6 types - the major split being between smoked or un-smoked. Lardo is also part of the pancetta family.

The other major split is between the pancetta that you eat as is - thinly sliced like proscuitto - and that which you cook with.

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Absolutely. When I was in Italy, my friends had a proper slicer - and we'd eat paper thin pancetta, raw - which is no big deal, as all cured meats are essentially raw.

I mean - Salami - we're basicaly talking meat tartar in a tube, right?

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Absolutely. When I was in Italy, my friends had a proper slicer - and we'd eat paper thin pancetta, raw - which is no big deal, as all cured meats are essentially raw.

I mean - Salami - we're basicaly talking meat tartar in a tube, right?

The finest grades of pancetta are almost lardo and they are delicious to eat as affettati, but not very good for cooking as they basically melt away. The price is quite different also. For carbonara and amatriciana I usually buy the basic "blocks" of pancetta which are more meaty and decidedly cheaper.

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Hi Craig, and thank you for your welcome! :smile:

I have to agree that many do NOT like or use cream with Carbonara but many do. I lived in Lombardia ( hey, same Province as you!) and in my early days of visiting my in laws home, before the devastating landslide in the 80's destroyed the village, I was amazed at having cows living in a stable beneath the home. For a young Kiwi girl 30 years ago it was a shock I can tell ya! ( and we wont go near the smell!) :blink:

Cows grazed in paddocks all year long here in NZ, even in the snow hay was fed out.

But....I soon became aware of just how important those cows were.

Milk, cream and butter were and are such a staple, and olive oil not used really except to drizzle on a salad. A tablespoon or two of cream was, and is, always added to my family's Carbonara and I actually prefer it that way. it loosens the eggs just enough and provides a wonderful creaminess that a Carbonara without does not. My opinion, and I concede that many prefer without.

I found that cream is used in Carbonara at most if not all of Valtellinese restaurants I ever ate in. Lots of cows there, so heaps of product to use!!

Now, South? Well, no cream makes sense and the Olive rules! :smile:

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Last night I made Pasta Carbonara ala Hillvalley with a thin lasagna shapped pasta. It was delish.

But while rendering the fat from the pancetta I learned that the batteries in my smoke dector work. I cooked the pancetta over a high heat (electric :angry: ). Does fat render at a lower heat? How can I avoid the smoke?

Frankly the smoke didn't bother me, the apartment smelled great. But my neighbors probably weren't too happy.

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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A friend prepared a wonderful salad that had pancetta in it.

it goes something like this.

2 fresh bundles of spinach washed very well,drained,spun & stemmed

rip into bite size

about 3 cups basil leaves fairly well packed (be carefull not to bruise)

12 slices pancetta

5 oz pinenuts

fresh ground black pepper

Get a cast iron pan on the burner to medium/high heat and drizzle in

a bit of olive oil, add pancetta and fry until the bacon looks cooked

through but not too crispy. Add pinenuts and turn down heat a bit, cook

about 3 minutes or until pinenuts get a little golden.

In a large salad bowl mix spinich and basil leaves together toss in warm

pancetta and pinenuts mix gently.

Season with fresh ground black pepper and sea salt (opt)

arrange on plates and garnish with shaved parmassano reggiano.

the tastes are so amazing together....try it ..i think you will love it!

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  • 1 year later...

How is pancetta usually served? Is it common to eat it raw?

I've had shrimp and scallop wrapped in pancetta and also pancetta on a pizza.

I once fried some strips of pancetta in bacon grease. The strip shrinks into a wavy ribbon and its thinness makes the taste experience very ephemeral. Is this a common preparation or is it too decadent for all but the most perverse minds to imagine?

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It sounds to me like you are making a common mistake, confusing prosciutto (fully cured italian ham, usually shaved paper-thin and not cooked) with pancetta (italian style salt- and spice-cured pork belly, [basically unsmoked bacon] which would be gross eaten raw.)

The most commonly known presentation for prosciutto is prosciutto y melon. Shave it thinly (you usually get your deli guy to do this) and serve with or wrapped around pieces of honeydew melon or canteloupe. It is sometimes cooked though. I have seen it wrap shrimp and asparagus and breadsticks, among other things.

Pancetta is used in many Italian recipes in the same way you'd use bacon in American ones. Diced, rendered for fat, fried crisp, removed, added back to finished product later.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosciutto

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancetta

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Pancetta is known to be served "raw" (it's still cured so it's not really raw) in Italy.

A Previous Discussion on Pancetta.

Very thinly sliced and draped over something hot, it wilts right in.

Mario Batali has two recipes I really like:

1) Cut it fairly thick (even thicker than American Bacon is cut) and grill it, then use as a topping for bruschetta with caramelized onions in balsamic vinegar.

2) Cut it into large cubes, sandwich between quail on a skeweker, marinate overnight in vinegar and honey, then grill.

You have to be sure of the quality of the pancetta you're using if you cut and cook it like this, however: I've had it go very stringy and tough on me recently.

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It sounds to me like you are making a common mistake, confusing prosciutto (fully cured italian ham, usually shaved paper-thin and not cooked) with pancetta (italian style salt- and spice-cured pork belly, [basically unsmoked bacon] which would be gross eaten raw.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosciutto

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancetta

Thanks, I already read those Wikipedia articles and am not mistaking prosciutto for pancetta. I eat enough of both to know the difference.

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I also think of pancetta more as a cooking ingredient that something on the antipasto tray.

Pancetta and chicken is a classic combination. One favorite is cacciatore flavored with pancetta, marsala and rosemary.

Another great use is in a sauce for Gnocchi. Saute diced pancetta in a mixture of olive oil and butter. Add chopped fresh sage and cook briefly. Serve over Gnocchi with ground black pepper and grated Reggiano parmesan.

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i would suggest my recipe: buy fresh (uncured) pork belly and cut it in 3 by 1 inch rectangles, making sure that each piece has some meat in it; if the fat is excessive, remove some of it; season with rosemary, sage, orange peel, pepper and one spoon of white wine for every piece; cover and leave in a cool place for 24 hours; grill or broil until there is a dark brown crust outside and the juices are flowing out of each piece; slice each piece on the narrow side very thinly and season with salt; serve over a bed of fresh lettuce, or steamed leeks; pair it with a good riesling

athinaeos

civilization is an everyday affair

the situation is hopeless, but not very serious

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Pancetta is simply cured bacon as compared to the smoked bacon we use here in the USA. As with most things there is pancetta and there is PANCETTA. There is also smoked pancetta in Italy, the most famous being the sublime Speck. The top grades from artisan producers can, and are served, without cooking, while the everyday type of pancetta you buy at the grocery store in Italy is used as a cooking ingredient. Using top quality prosciutto or pancetta for cooking is a waste.

By the way, lardo, the ultimate affettati experience, is also from the belly and you would never dream of cooking this treasure. The finest prosciutto is always served alone as even melon takes away from enjoying the delicate flavors.

None of these delicacies produced outside of Italy come close to the refinement of flavor they attain in the best Italian versions.

For this reason its not very safe to be a pig in Italy.

On the affettati plate below, from Milano's Boccondivino, you see lardo in front, then moving counterclockwise prosciutto and then some melt in your mouth pancetta.

gallery_7204_2521_1257.jpg

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As it happens I am sitting here eating leftover penne with a sauce of ricotta, pancetta and peas. I too use it as an ingredient and have never had the top grade pancetta, served raw, that the previous poster talks about. Pancetta is wonderful in all sorts of pasta-it's in the classics Pasta alla Amatriciana and Spaghetti Carbonara, for example. Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking has quite a few pasta recipes with pancetta as a primary ingredient.

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Pancetta is simply cured bacon as compared to the smoked bacon we use here in the USA. As with most things there is pancetta and there is PANCETTA. There is also smoked pancetta in Italy, the most famous being the sublime Speck.

gallery_7204_2521_1257.jpg

I thought Speck was Prosciutto Affumicato, not a type of Pancetta?

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Pancetta isn't the primary ingredient; but, one of my favorite spring dishes is Risi i Bisi, a risotto-like dish made with arborio rice, fresh peas, pancetta, home made chicken stock and herbs.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I generally like to cut it into cubes rather than strips. Anything is game for me-tomato pasta sauces (Amatriciana especially), on greens with pan roasted red onion and shavings of parmesan and a sprinkling of pine nuts, in an omelet- anywhere in cooking that calls for bacon.

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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Risotto is a good use too. Chop pancetta into cubes and fry in the olive oil for a few minutes, then add the rice and continue as you would for risotto. Risotto is an excellent blank canvas that absorbs whatever flavorful ingredients you put in it.

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Pancetta is simply cured bacon as compared to the smoked bacon we use here in the USA. As with most things there is pancetta and there is PANCETTA. There is also smoked pancetta in Italy, the most famous being the sublime Speck.

gallery_7204_2521_1257.jpg

I thought Speck was Prosciutto Affumicato, not a type of Pancetta?

that's correct - it's still early out here :wacko:

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I get confused myself, Craig. Technically though, Prosciuttini, which is cured, is the same cut Pancetta, and is also sometimes smoked, isnt it?

Can everyone agree upon the following? Or is there further deliniation?

Prosciutto (Ham Leg, Cured, used for Salumi/Antipasto)

Prosciutto Affum. (Speck) (Ham Leg, Smoked/Cured, used for Salumi/Antipasto)

Prosciutto Cotto (Ham Leg, Cooked /Boiled, used for Salumi/Antipasto)

Prosciuttini (Ham Forequarters or Belly, Smoked/Cured, used for Salumi/Antipasto)

Pancetta (Pork Belly, Uncured, used for Saute, Cooking)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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