Pancetta

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An Italian meat, which is traditionally air-dried up to four months and cured with salt, pepper, sugar, and other seasonings such as herbs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. It is produced from the fat and flesh of a pork belly and is available smoked or unsmoked. When smoked, it is generally in a slab form that can be sliced into flat strips and referred to as Italian bacon. It is also available processed and rolled into a sausage shape. Rolled or round pancetta, which is not smoked, is processed by removing the skin from the meat and creating a rolled form of the product, similar to a jellyroll, that takes the shape of a large sausage. Rolled pancetta is referred to as Pancetta Arrotolata and contains less fat. Either rolled or flat, pancetta has a mild, lightly spiced, sweet flavor, which is less sweet than domestic bacon. Pancetta is also known as Placentian, Rigatino, and Carnesecca. The Carnesecca is not smoked and has been seasoned with garlic, salt, spices such as pepper, but not sugar. Pancetta is served raw as an antipasto or wrapped around other food products to complement the flavor of the food. It is most commonly fried to accompany other foods or it may also become a main ingredient for soups, stews, and pasta dishes.

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