The panceta is sometimes called “Italian bacon”, but that expression doesn't do justice to the taste of this pork! The panceta is nothing but cured (but not smoked) pork belly seasoned with salt, pepper and assorted spices and rolled into a thick sausage. It should be cooked over medium low or medium heat to remove some of the fat and make it crispy. You can change bacon for a pancet in the recipes if you want to reduce their smoky taste or try different recipes that take pence off!
Carbonara pasta with panceta
- 4 yolks and 2 whole eggs.
- 450 g of spaghetti or other dry noodles.
- 110 g of panceta cut into 60 mm cubes.
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- 60 g of grated Parmesan cheese.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Method 1 of 3: Frying the panceta to make it crispy
Step 1. Slice or cut the raw panceta into cubes as needed
You can usually buy panceta in sausage-like rolls, thinly sliced, or diced. If you bought it sliced or diced, you can cook it just the way it is. To prepare the rolled panceta, you will have to cut it into slices or cubes.
- You can cut 60mm thick slices from the cooking rolls.
- If you prefer, cut thick slices and then cut them into 60 mm cubes.
Step 2. Place the panceta in a spacious skillet
If you fill the pan with panceta, it will be softer than crunchy because of the excess fat and moisture that will come out of the meat. Choose a large skillet that holds the entire panceta you want to prepare or cook the meat in chunks.
It doesn't matter if you sliced or diced the panceta, the pieces of meat shouldn't be touching each other or the pan is too full
Step 3. Place the pan with the pan over medium low to medium heat
By placing the panceta in a cold skillet and cooking it over a moderate heat, you will allow more fat to come out of the meat and make it more crunchy without burning. Since stove temperatures vary widely, use medium low or medium heat to do this.
If you are going to cook meat in batches, use two pans. If you are not going to do this, you will have to remove the fat that came out of the first batch and let the skillet cool a little between batches
Step 4. Cook until the fat comes out and the panceta is crispy
Even on low heat, the panceta doesn't take long to go from perfectly crunchy to burnt. Keep an eye on the meat and use your sense of smell to know when it reaches its desired point.
- 60mm thick slices need to cook for five minutes on each side, give or take.
- If the panceta is very thinly sliced, fry for two to three minutes on each side.
- 60mm cubes will take about five minutes to complete and need to be stirred from time to time.
Step 5. Place the fried panceta on a plate lined with a paper towel
The paper towels will absorb some of the fat that is on the surface of the panceta, which helps the meat stay crispy longer after it leaves the pan. After it has cooled down for a few seconds, you can now add the panceta to salads, pastas, sandwiches, or many other recipes. You can also enjoy it yourself!
Before throwing away the fat left in the pan, make sure you can't save it for use in other recipes
Method 2 of 3: Making a classic carbonara noodle with panceta
Step 1. Cut the panceta into cubes, beat the eggs and add the water to heat
Cut 110 g of panceta into 60 mm cubes. beat four yolks and two whole eggs in a bowl with a little pepper and 45 g of grated Parmesan cheese. Bring six cups of water to a boil.
Put a few pinches of salt in the water if you like
Step 2. Fry the panceta in an iron pan or other thick, sturdy pan
Cook the panceta until crisp with two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Remove the panceta and leave about three tablespoons of fat in the pan. Drain and discard the rest.
It will take about five minutes for the panceta cubes to become crispy
Step 3. Cook the pasta
While the panceta is frying, place 450g of noodles, such as spaghetti, in the water and cook until it is a little firmer than you prefer. Save 830 mL of the noodle water and drain the noodles.
- Try to leave the pasta al dente, which is a favorite item of Italians.
- It will take seven to nine minutes for it to reach the desired point.
Step 4. Finish cooking the noodles in the panceta pan
Put 470 mL of the pasta water into the pan where you fried the panceta and turn on medium to high heat. Add the noodles and stir regularly until it reaches the point you prefer.
This will cover and infuse the pasta with the tasty fat from the panceta that is left in the pan
Step 5. Make a sauce with the beaten eggs
Add 120 mL of the warm spaghetti water while beating the two whole eggs with the four yolks. Then pour the egg mixture over the noodles gently while mixing it with a tongs. Add a little more water from the noodles to thin the sauce, if needed, while continuing to stir the noodles with the tongs.
Putting a small amount of hot water into eggs is a technique called seasoning. She raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so they don't curdle or turn into scrambled eggs
Step 6. Add the panceta and serve your carbonara
Add the fried panceta cubes, the rest of the grated Parmesan cheese and pepper to taste. Divide pasta into four generous portions.
- This dish has substance on its own, but it is usually served with Italian bread or garden salad. You can also try it with grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli.
- Carbonara noodles must be consumed immediately or the eggs will start to solidify and become hard. You can keep what's left in the fridge to eat for the next two days, but the quality of the dish won't be the same.
Method 3 of 3: Ensuring the quality of the panceta
Step 1. Buy it in rolls, slices or cubes
If you want the best shape and more flexibility to cut and serve your panceta, buy it in its original shape: in rolls. If you want very thin slices that you wouldn't be able to cut at home, buy a packet of already sliced panceta. If you're going to use the panceta as a filling or put it in a salad or dressing, you might want to buy it in cubes now.
- You can find panceta in most supermarkets and practically every butcher shop.
- Imported Italian pancetas will probably be more expensive than domestic ones. Let your taste buds decide if they're worth the higher price.
Step 2. Choose a pink panceta, damp and with lots of fat strips
The panceta is cured, but is sold raw, so it should retain color and texture just as raw bacon would, more or less. The fat should be white (not yellow or gray) and well distributed throughout the meat. If the panceta looks watery, embalmed, or dried out, don't buy it.
If you can smell the panceta, see if it has a sour smell or any other bad smells. Don't buy it if it smells bad
Step 3. Leave it wrapped in the refrigerator until it's time to use
Keep the panceta sealed in the original packaging or wrap a piece of panceta in wax paper and place inside a plastic zipper bag. Pancetas usually last from one to three weeks in the refrigerator. If it starts to turn yellow or gray, has a sour smell or has passed its expiration date, do not consume it.