Thursday, July 7, 2011

Charcuterie 3

The pancetta is finished and it is beautiful!

I have been in love with pancetta since October 1997.  That was the first time my husband and I went on a date to what became 'our restaurant.'  The 'number twelve' is our favourite dish: Spaghetti Amatriciana Bianca.  For those of you familiar with Dunedin, I am talking about Etrusco.  We got engaged in this restaurant, and really enjoyed taking our daughter there last year when a friend's wedding took us back down south. Etrusco is a simply beautiful restaurant, and I really miss it.  I don't think that I have a favourite quite like this where I currently live. 

Back in the 1990's in Dunedin you could not buy pancetta easily, so it was a few years before we were able to try and make this dish ourselves.  We have in fact, never quite replicated it, but may try again with our own pancetta.  Of course I may then need to search for the perfect Italian sausage, but that is a hunt for another day!

I had a really, really good time making this, mainly because there was just about no work for a rather spectacular effort.  When I think how much pancetta costs to buy (and therefore how rarely we have it) I am so pleased with learning this curing technique.

In my previous charcuterie posts I've listed the ingredients and method for making pancetta.  I cured it for five days, mainly because I felt that that the meat could use a little longer.  The recipe states four-seven days, and notes that it can get very salty.  My pancetta is quite salty, but I will use it in meals and make sure not to add any salt whatsoever.  Depending on the recipe I may even boil it a little to soak off some of the salt.

The most difficult thing about this recipe/ method was cutting up the pancetta afterwards.  I have one of those beautifully sharp ceramic knives, but I really had to strain to cut this up.  I went for thick chunks (lardons) rather than lots of thin slices as it was just a bit easier.

 This is the finished slab of Pancetta.  What I like is to see how the meat and fat have all shrunken in together and provide a nice marbled effect.

 A rather awesome  anniversary present from my husband a couple of years ago was a plastic food sealer machine.  I tell you what, I have never felt greater satisfaction that making my pancetta look this fancy!

And just to put everything completely out of order - this is what the belly pork looked like after the first 24 hours of curing.


  1. So *fancy*! Looking forward to hearing what you use the pancetta in!

  2. That is what I love about the pancetta - fancy, and just about no work. I'm thinking ricotta, spinach and pancetta ravioli...