Pancetta or Italian bacon
Pancetta may very well be my family's favorite ingredient. Whenever I use pancetta in a recipe I have to make double the quantity required to accommodate all the poachers. Pancetta is essentially unsmoked Italian bacon. Pancetta is salt-cured pork belly, seasoned with a variety of herbs including: fennel, nutmeg, peppercorns and garlic. Pancetta comes in two forms: rolled up in a log shape or in a slab form. The rolled log is the most common type of pancetta found in the US.
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How to cook with pancetta
Pancetta is not typically eaten by itself like American bacon is. Rather pancetta is used to add flavor to pasta, salads and soups. Unlike prosciutto, pancetta must be cooked. Pancetta can be thinly sliced and crisped, or cut into chunky lardon. I use pancetta in Roasted leek, pancetta and tomato pasta and Roasted turkey cobb salad.