Pancetta is sold in large hunks, thinly sliced, or chopped into small bits. The small bits are an incredible inclusion in pasta dishes, primarily a slight variation on a classic carbonara or all’amatriciana, which traditionally use guanciale — but we think a pancetta swap is permissible because guanciale can be a tricky ingredient to find! Interestingly enough, Serious Eats notes that there is actually is a form of smoked pancetta called pancetta affumicata, but you’d be mistaken if you just assumed that it is bacon. According to the site, it tastes saltier and has a more seasoned flavor than American bacon.
In addition, pancetta lends amazing flavor to soups and stews, pairs amazingly well with green vegetables, and bolsters salads, pizzas, and much more, according to BBC Food. It can also be a part of a cold antipasto platter or charcuterie board. Crisp, perfectly rendered pancetta blows bacon out of the water any day! Truthfully, it should stand on its own. Hopefully, it is now pancetta’s time to step into the spotlight.