What is Pancetta?
- Posted by 3 Sons Italian
- On September 17, 2019
At 3 Sons Italian, you’ll see pancetta in several different places on our menu: on our pizzas, in our Italian Mac & Cheese and in our 3 Sons Carbonara. But what exactly is it?
Types of pancetta
Pancetta is a salumi (not to be confused with salami, which is a type of salumi) that’s made of salt-cured pork belly meat. In Italy, it’s usually cut into cubes and used in pastas and soups to add depth to the flavor profile. It’s also sliced very thin and served as a cold cut in antipasti or as a topping on pizza.
Traditionally, pancetta is either rolled (called “arrotolata”) or flat (“stesa”). In Italy, it’s more common to see rolled pancetta in the northern parts and flat pancetta in the southern regions.
How is pancetta made?
Although most pancetta is cured with salt and then dried, pancetta affumicata is cured with salt and then smoked.
For traditional pancetta, the chef or butcher removes the pork belly skin and then salts it before placing it in a tub of brine for anywhere from 10 days to two weeks. Ideally, you want this to be done in a high-humidity, low-temperature environment.
The brine can vary a bit, but most contain salt, spices (chili, black pepper, garlic, rosemary and juniper) and nitrates.
After brining, the chef will roll the pork, keeping the fat on the outside and the meat in the middle, and then pack it into a netted case before it goes through enzymatic reactions in a warm environment for 24 to 36 hours. During this process, cold smokes and flavor and color. At the end of the process, the pork is kept in relative humidity for up to 4 weeks to help it dry out to eventually weigh about 70% of what it started at. It’s a slow process, but the taste makes it worth the effort!
We encourage you to stop by 3 Sons Italian in Arvada to taste true Italian cuisine. In addition to our regular menu, we offer rotating specials, as well as live entertainment and fundraisers for the community.
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3 Sons Italian Restaurant & Bar
14805 West 64th Ave., Arvada