For cooking, it is often cut into cubes (cubetti di pancetta). In Italy, pancetta is commonly served as a cold cut, sliced thin and eaten raw. It can also be used in carbonara pasta (although guanciale is generally regarded as more traditional).
The two basic types of pancetta are the arrotolata (rolled) and stesa (flat). The arrotolata, salted, is mainly cut in thin slices and eaten raw as part of antipasti or simply as a component of a sandwich; the stesa is often used chopped as an ingredient in many recipes, or cut in thick strips, that are usually eaten grilled. There is also a version of arrotolata, to which capicola is added in the center of the roll (pancetta coppata).
The pork belly skin is removed before the pork is salted and held in a tub of brine for 10–14 days in a low temperature and high humidity environment. The brine is usually composed of salt, nitrite, ascorbate, spices such as black pepper, chilli, garlic, juniper, and rosemary, and sometimes nitrate.
After salting and brining, the pork is rolled, with layers of fat on the outside surrounding a meaty core. The rolled pork is then tightly packed into nettings or other fibrous casings. Rolling produces pancetta’s distinctive shape, while the casing prevent case hardening in the latter stages of the production process.
Following rolling and packing, the pork undergoes enzymatic reactions facilitated by exposure to a warm environment of 22-24℃ for 24 to 36 hours. It is simultaneously exposed to cold smokes for desirable colours and flavours and to prevent moulding.
Preservation and shelf lifeEdit
Pancetta is preserved by curing. Curing is done using a spice and salt mixture containing nitrates or nitrites, which act to extend the shelf life of cured meats. Nitrates help remove excess moisture from the pork, decreasing water activity and limiting available free water for the growth of spoilage-causing and pathogenic microorganisms. Sodium nitrites are used to prevent the growth of botulism-causing bacteria and listeria monocytogenes, as well as imparting desirable flavour and colour. Nitrates are said to act like time-released nitrites, and are used in pancetta products that require longer periods of curing and drying.
One 30-g serving of pancetta contains around 5.0 g of protein, 11.0 g of fat, and 20–25 mg of cholesterol. One serving comprises between 15 and 22% of the accepted daily value of fats. Despite its high portion of daily fat value, pancetta has a lower fat content than other bacon products.
A single serving of pancetta contains around 540 mg of sodium. Consumption of processed meats is reported to be the second largest source of dietary sodium consumption, with bacon products leading processed pork products in sodium content.
Leading cancer research centres, including the World Cancer Research Fund and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have consistently linked high intakes of red and processed meats to increased mortality and increased risk of various cancers, including colorectal and colon cancers. A meta-analysis from 2011 showed that the risk of colorectal cancer increased 17% per 100 g daily consumption of red meat and by 18% per 50 g daily consumption of processed meat.
A 2013 study found a positive correlation between high consumption of processed meat and higher all-cause mortality, and concluded that 3.3% of deaths could be prevented if processed meat consumption was reduced to 20 g/day or less.
Associated cancer risk is likely related to the presence of nitrosamines in processed meat products like pancetta. Nitrosamines are carcinogenic compounds formed by the reaction of nitrites and amines. Nitrites are added during processing to act as preservatives and as antibacterial agents against clostridium botulinum, the toxin that causes botulism. Amines are naturally-occurring compounds found in meats. Nitrosamines are often formed in high temperatures, like those required to produce bacon, one processed meat in which nitrosamines have been consistently found.
Under Canadian regulations (C.R.C., Annex C.2), a cured meat product like pancetta is defined as an edible meat product that is prepared with salt with at least 100ppm of sodium nitrite, potassium nitrite, sodium nitrate, or potassium nitrate.
In the United States, under the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA, hormones are not allowed in hogs or poultry raised for food. Pork or poultry sold in the U.S. must be labelled as hormone-free and include a statement saying that federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.
In the European Union, the labelling of pancetta is regulated under the protected designation of origin regime. Only pancetta produced in the Italian region of Calabria may be labelled as pancetta di calabria.
- Andrea Tibaldi. "Bacon (pancetta affumicata)". (in Italian).
- Two Greedy Italians – Bucatini all'amatriciana. 29 July 2014 – via YouTube.
- Carnacina, Luigi; Veronelli, Luigi (1977). "Vol. 2, Italia Centrale". La cucina Rustica Regionale. Rizzoli. OCLC 797623404. republication of La Buona Vera Cucina Italiana, 1966.
- "DOP – Pancetta Piacentina". (in Italian).
- "DOP – Pancetta di Calabria". (in Italian).
- "Casa Italia Pancetta Diced". Jan K. Overweel. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "Columbus Craft Meats". www.columbuscraftmeats.com. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- Feiner, Gerhard. (2010). Meat products handbook practical science and technology. Woodhead. p. 444. ISBN 9781845690502. OCLC 939134636.
- Matuszak, Ashley. "A Lesson in Cured Italian Meats". The Pioneer. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "Recipe: How to Make Pancetta Arrotolata". Our Daily Brine. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "Pancetta". B.RE and Sons: Specialty Meats, Ham & Bacon. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "How Long Food Can Be Frozen and Stored in Freezer". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- "Mastro® Pancetta – Mastro® San Daniele® Charcuterie Products". Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- Head, Boar's. "Diced Uncured Pancetta". Boar's Head. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- Lešić, Tina Krešić, Greta Koprivnjak, Olivera Kovečević, Dragan Gross - Bošković, Andrea Sokolić, Darja Jurković, Martina Pleadin, Jelka (2016). Estimation of dietary fat intake via the consumption of traditional meat products. Croatian Society of Food Technologists, Biotechnologists and Nutritionists. pp. 138–144. OCLC 985203408.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- Pretorius, Beulah; Schönfeldt, Hettie C. (January 2018). "The contribution of processed pork meat products to total salt intake in the diet". Food Chemistry. 238: 139–145. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.11.078. ISSN 0308-8146.
- Rohrmann, Sabine Overvad, Kim Bueno-de-Mesquita, H Bas Jakobsen, Marianne U Egeberg, Rikke Tjonneland, Anne Nailler, Laura Boutron-Ruault, Marie-Christine Clavel-Chapelon, Francoise Krogh, Vittorio Palli, Domenico Panico, Salvatore Tumino, Rosario Ricceri, Fulvio Bergmann, Manuela M Boeing, Heiner Li, Kuanrong Kaaks, Rudolf Khaw, Kay-Tee Wareham, Nicholas J Crowe, Francesca L Key, Timothy J Naska, Androniki Trichopoulou, Antonia Trichopoulos, Dimitirios Leenders, Max Peeters, Petra HM Engeset, Dagrun Parr, Christine L Skeie, Guri Jakszyn, Paula Sanchez, Maria-Jose Huerta, Jose M Luisa Redondo, M Barricarte, Aurelio Amiano, Pilar Drake, Isabel Sonestedt, Emily Hallmans, Göran Johansson, Ingegerd Fedirko, Veronika Romieux, Isabelle Ferrari, Pietro Norat, Teresa Vergnaud, Anne C Riboli, Elio Linseisen, Jakob (2013). Meat consumption and mortality : results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Umeå universitet, Näringsforskning. OCLC 856028379.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- Domingo, José L.; Nadal, Martí (July 2017). "Carcinogenicity of consumption of red meat and processed meat: A review of scientific news since the IARC decision". Food and Chemical Toxicology. 105: 256–261. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2017.04.028. ISSN 0278-6915.
- "Seven days: 11–17 July 2014". Nature. 511 (7509): 268–269. July 2014. doi:10.1038/511268a. ISSN 0028-0836.
- Farvid, Maryam S.; Stern, Mariana C.; Norat, Teresa; Sasazuki, Shizuka; Vineis, Paolo; Weijenberg, Matty P.; Wolk, Alicja; Wu, Kana; Stewart, Bernard W. (3 October 2018). "Consumption of red and processed meat and breast cancer incidence: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies". International Journal of Cancer. 143 (11): 2787–2799. doi:10.1002/ijc.31848. ISSN 0020-7136.
- CBC. "Backgrounder: Nitrosamines". The Nature of Things with David Suzuki.
- "Nitrosamines - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics". www.sciencedirect.com. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "Nitrosamines". Office for Science and Society. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- de la Monte, Suzanne M.; Neusner, Alexander; Chu, Jennifer; Lawton, Margot (1 July 2009). "Epidemiological Trends Strongly Suggest Exposures as Etiologic Agents in the Pathogenesis of Sporadic Alzheimer's Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis". Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. 17 (3): 519–529. doi:10.3233/jad-2009-1070. ISSN 1875-8908.
- Government of Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (6 June 2013). "Annex C: Use of Phosphate Salts and Nitrites in the Preparation of Meat Products". www.inspection.gc.ca. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "Meat and Poultry Labeling Terms". USDA FSIS.
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/1286 of 23 July 2015 approving non-minor amendments to the specification for a name entered in the register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications (Pancetta di Calabria (PDO)) (32015R1286), 28 July 2015, retrieved 7 August 2019
- Media related to Pancetta at Wikimedia Commons