Pancetta

Pancetta is salty and fatty like bacon without the smoky flavor.

Pancetta is pork belly cured with salt, pepper and sometimes other spices. A staple in Italian cooking, it's salty and fatty like bacon without the smoky flavor. Keep in mind that pancetta can be very salty, so use additional salt sparingly.

Egg and Pancetta Hash

Egg and pancetta hash.

Egg and Pancetta Hash

Upgrade this healthy breakfast bowl by adding hot sauce and sour cream.

  • ½ lb pancetta, finely diced
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 4 Yukon gold potatoes, ¼-inch dice
  • 2 sweet potatoes, ½-inch dice 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, freshly chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

| Preparation | In a large skillet over medium heat, add pancetta and fry until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve fat. In the same skillet, add onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add potatoes, cover and cook for 12 minutes, stirring often, until crisp. Transfer to a bowl, add pancetta and toss; set aside. In the same skillet, fry eggs until whites are set. Divide pancetta-potato mix between 4 ramekins; top each with an egg. Top with parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Kale, Pear and Pancetta Salad

Kale, pear and pancetta salad.

Kale, Pear and Pancetta Salad

Massaging kale helps soften the leaves, which makes for a much more appetizing texture. You can use bottled honey-Dijon salad dressing here or make your own.

Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ⅓  cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Salad

  • ½ lb pancetta, cut into ¼-inch chunks
  • 1 head kale, washed, sliced into ¼-inch wide strips
  • 2 red pears, cut into ¹⁄₈-inch slices
  • ½ cup blue cheese crumbles
  • ¼ cup roasted pecans, finely chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

| Preparation – Dressing | In a small bowl or jar with a lid, add all ingredients and whisk until fully combined. Store dressing in refrigerator until ready to use.

| Preparation - Salad | In a small skillet over medium heat, add pancetta and fry until crisp. Set aside. In a large bowl, add kale and just enough dressing to cover leaves; massage dressing into lettuce for 1 to 2 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Add additional dressing to taste and season with salt and pepper to taste; serve.

Bucatini Carbonara with Pancetta

Bucatini carbonara with pancetta.

Bucatini Carbonara with Pancetta

Linguini, spaghetti or any other ribbon-cut pasta will do just fine here.

  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ½ lb pancetta, cut into ½-inch pieces and fried until crisp
  • 1 lb cooked bucatini pasta (reserve 1 cup pasta water)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus 2 tsp lemon zest, divided
  • ²⁄₃ cup shaved or grated Parmesan, divided
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

| Preparation | In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon oil; add shallots and garlic and cook until shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add peas and cook for 5 minutes more. Add thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Turn off heat but keep skillet on hot burner; add pancetta. Add cooked pasta, reserved pasta water and 1 tablespoon oil and toss. Remove skillet from burner and add egg yolks, lemon juice and half of Parmesan and toss until a shiny, smooth sauce forms. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with lemon zest and remaining Parmesan; serve.

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Julia Calleo is a freelance photographer for editorial magazines including Feast. She is also a food and prop stylist at a commercial production studio and blogger in St. Louis.

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