15 Best Pancetta Recipes (2024)

If you’re a big lover of Italian cuisine, you probably know this ingredient very well. Pancetta is a pork belly meat used in traditional Italian dishes, like carbonara or spaghetti.

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It’s a salt-cured meat that can be consumed both in various dishes and on its own without any preparation. Many adore pancetta for its strong, salty flavor profile, which is quite close to how bacon tastes. It lacks bacon’s smokiness, though. Pancetta is also known as Italian bacon.

You don’t need much of this meat to elevate any dish you’re cooking. It has significant fat content, and it brings really interesting flavors to many pasta dishes. Pancetta can be used in so many ways in the kitchen, making it a very interesting ingredient to explore.

On this list of the best pancetta recipes, you’ll find dishes that will transport you to different places and allow you to experience new sensations. You will be able to rediscover this meat time and time again, pairing it with your favorite ingredients and not-so-obvious ones.

Get your apron on, and let’s start!

1. Pasta with Pesto and Pancetta

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Pasta and pesto are a match made in heaven, and this recipe only proves that right.

To make this delicious dish, you can use different types of salt-cured pork, like guanciale or slab bacon, but pancetta works just fine too. Apart from the meat, you will need unsalted roasted pistachios, Parmesan, paccheri or rigatoni, and butter.

You can prepare the pesto a couple of days ahead, so it’s easy to divide the work you need to put into this dish on more days, making it easier to accommodate a busy schedule.

And it’s worth it – this pancetta pasta recipe will knock you off your feet.

2. Three-Cheese Pizza with Pancetta and Mushrooms

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In this list, we wanted to include options for everyone, and that is extended to pizza lovers as well.

This pizza recipe has everything one can ask for in a good pizza – quality cheese, great meat, and mushrooms. It’s simple to make, as you work with only a handful of ingredients.

Thinly sliced salty pancetta works really nicely with Fontina cheese, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and crimini baby bella mushrooms, creating something very satisfying. It’s a great recipe for those who like to keep things simple in the kitchen.

3. Pancetta Pasta with Lemon and Garlic

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Another pasta dish on our list is a mix of straightforward ingredients that create a true symphony of flavors.

It takes no more than 30 minutes to prepare this dish, so it’s perfect for a quick lunch or dinner with friends. The list of ingredients includes chopped pancetta, garlic, kale, heavy cream, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, spaghetti, Parmesan, and seasoning.

Ingredients for the sauce need to be sauteed in a pan on medium heat. You should boil the pasta until it’s al dente. The last step is to serve the dish with Parmesan cheese and lemon.

An easy and delicious pasta dish for any occasion.

4. Shrimp Scallop Pasta with Crispy Pancetta

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Seafood and pasta are also considered quite an iconic pairing. And why change something that works so well?

If you don’t know what to cook for dinner, try this pancetta pasta recipe with shrimp scallops. Similar to other recipes on this list, here you can also switch pancetta for bacon.

Other ingredients you should use are shrimp, diver scallops or large sea scallops, minced garlic, and angel hair pasta. As to seasoning, classic salt, and freshly ground black pepper will be just fine.

It’s a dish that pairs very well with white wine.

5. Classic Carbonara Pancetta

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Of course, we couldn’t forget about a recipe for a classic carbonara, which is a well-known staple of Italian cuisine. If you wish to feel like you’re on vacation in the sunny part of Europe again, we recommend this pasta recipe.

To make the extra creamy sauce, add 3 tablespoons of grated cheese (in this recipe, it is Parmesan cheese). This carbonara is made without cream but with eggs. If you want to achieve an authentic flavor of this classic pasta dish, it’s best to follow the recipe closely.

Serve immediately after cooking to enjoy this dish in its full glory.

6. Pasta Carbonara with Green Peas

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Those who like to reinvent things are right in choosing the kitchen as their playground. Even the most classic dishes can be changed to make them more interesting or bring out some exciting flavors to the surface.

Amongst our pancetta recipes, we included one for pasta carbonara with English peas. This variation is fresh, a little sweet, and green, which always looks more pleasant on a plate.

To make this pasta dish, you will need extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, 6 ounces of pancetta, heavy cream, eggs, fresh or thawed frozen baby peas, freshly ground black pepper, and pasta.

Adding cream to carbonara is not customary in Italy, but as we’ve already said before, it’s all about the reinvention in this pasta recipe. Enjoy the process and its end results!

7. Reginetti with Savoy Cabbage and Pancetta

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Reginetti with savoy cabbage and pancetta is one of the recipes that make an impression. It’s a solid proposition for those who wish to try something different from traditional carbonara or spaghetti.

To make reginetti with pancetta, you will need thinly sliced pancetta, a small head of savoy cabbage, fresh thyme leaves, reginetti, and poppy seeds for serving.

You’ll get 4 servings from this recipe, so it’s a fantastic idea for a family dinner or lunch. And cabbage is really healthy, so it’s good to see it next to pancetta, which is rich in fat. The whole meal is on the more caloric side, but you get fantastic pasta with great meat and delicious cabbage on a plate.

8. Gnocchi with Sauteed Spinach and Crispy Pancetta

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Gnocchi are another Italian delicacy that work fantastic with so many ingredients. In this version, they are cooked with spinach and crispy pancetta.

As making homemade gnocchi takes some time, you can prepare them beforehand and freeze them. That way, this recipe can be accomplished in just 20 minutes.

To make gnocchi with spinach and pancetta, you will need potato gnocchi, olive oil, finely diced pancetta, baby spinach, Parmesan cheese, and sherry wine vinegar.

Salty pancetta paired with gnocchi and spinach makes up for an amazing dish worth trying at least once.

9. Roast Chicken with Pancetta and Olives

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Some people love eating chicken for multiple meals a week. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s good to switch things up in order to avoid boredom.

With this roast chicken with pancetta, it’s very easy.

This chicken recipe has some unusual twists, which make it one of a kind. For example, chicken is braised in white wine to ensure the meat stays tender. The saltiness from the pancetta only highlights this effect.

To prepare this recipe, you should get chicken or rabbit, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, pancetta or bacon, dry white wine, and black olives.

The texture of this meat is out of the world, and the flavors really complement each other, so we highly recommend this recipe.

10. Charred Sprouts with Orange Zest, Chestnuts, and Pancetta

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Many people don’t enjoy brussels sprouts. It’s true that their flavor can be quite unpleasant on its own. But if prepared right, brussels sprouts can become the star of the dish.

This is the case in this pancetta recipe. You get crispy sprouts with salty pancetta and earthy nuts. All of this gets elevated with orange zest. When we say it’s to die for, we mean it.

You only need a handful of ingredients, which are 500g of Brussels sprouts, olive oil, 1 orange that is zested, cooked chestnuts, and 150g of pancetta to create this masterpiece.

The prep time takes around 30 minutes, and you get to experience the perfect symphony of flavors that will brighten any fall or winter day.

11. Collard Greens with Pancetta, Ham and Pinto Beans

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A traditional southern barbeque cannot take place without slow-cooked collard greens. It’s worth taking the time to prepare this side dish, as it will become a hit of all your Sunday barbeques.

In this recipe, pancetta and ham are used instead of ham hocks, and it adds a lot of interesting flavors to this, otherwise, easy to overlook dish.
And it’s not overly complicated to make. All you need is chopped collard greens, unsalted chicken stock, pancetta, red wine vinegar, shallot diced finely, garlic, olive oil, some sugar, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.

Collard greens from this recipe are a little sweet, a little salty, and a little spicy – in other words, they are just right.

12. Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Asparagus

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We will always be fans of changing simple meals into something special and somewhat unconventional. A classic grilled cheese sandwich is great on its own, that’s a fact. But add some asparagus and pancetta, and you’re suddenly having a truly royal meal.

This spring green grilled cheese sandwich makes dreams come true, and you only need bread, butter, sweet peas, virgin olive oil, fresh basil, mint dill, salt, and pepper in addition to the main ingredients of this meal – asparagus, pancetta, and Havarti cheese, to taste those dreams.

If you like to go the extra mile and make every meal a little celebration of life, this is one of the best pancetta recipes we could recommend to you.

13. Tomato Pasta with Pancetta and Shallots

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The good old tomato sauce for pasta is a safe and the right choice. If you want to make your pasta dish a little bit more exciting, adding pancetta is a great idea.

This tomato sauce is fantastic and can be made for any occasion. Passata, shallots, mascarpone cheese, red pepper flakes, white wine, and pancetta are all you need to prepare it. The sauce really brings out the best pasta has to offer.

You can top it off with some fresh Italian parsley if you’re feeling like it.

It’s a simple meal but so comforting and delicious that it’s easy to fall in love with it. Be careful – it will become one of your go-to’s.

14. Red Cabbage Salad with Pancetta-Balsamic Dressing

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Finally, on our list of the best pancetta recipes, we’ve reached a salad! And not any typical salad, cause this one is made with red cabbage.

Red cabbage can be an underappreciated ingredient, and wrongfully so. It’s full of vitamin K, antioxidants, and potassium. So from time to time, it’s good to include it in your meals. And this fantastic red cabbage salad with pancetta-balsamic dressing is a perfect way to do that.

It may take more time to prepare this salad, but the end result is worth it.

15. Linguine with Pancetta, Peas, and Zucchini

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Fresh, light and packed with flavors, linguine with pancetta is simply one of our favorite pasta dishes.

You will need pancetta, chopped scallions, garlic, green peas, zucchini, fresh basil, fresh Italian parsley leaves, 1 pound of linguine, and some extra-virgin olive oil with grated Grana Padano to make this dish.

Every bite will bring you closer to paradise, and you deserve it. Treat yourself to this recipe and enjoy every dinner you have this dish on your menu.

Pancetta Recipes – Final Thoughts

Pancetta offers you a lot of possibilities, so if you’re not a vegetarian, you should try to find a place for it in your kitchen. In this article, we’ve shown you many ways in which you can enjoy Italian bacon. From pasta to salad, you’re sure to find something interesting and delicious for you. Check out more of our recipes and discover your love for food with us.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some top pasta dishes featuring pancetta?

There are numerous ways to enjoy pancetta in pasta dishes. Some popular options include Pasta Carbonara, where pancetta is combined with eggs, cheese, and black pepper; Amatriciana, which features pancetta, tomatoes, and Pecorino cheese; and Spaghetti alla Gricia, a simple dish made with pancetta, Pecorino, and black pepper.

How can I incorporate pancetta into a chicken meal?

To incorporate pancetta into a chicken meal, you can try stuffing chicken breasts with a mixture of pancetta, cheese, and herbs, or wrapping chicken thighs in pancetta for an added layer of flavor. Another option is to sauté pancetta with onions, garlic, and herbs, then use the mixture as a base for a delicious chicken and pancetta risotto.

Any popular breakfast options using pancetta?

Pancetta can be a tasty addition to your breakfast menu. You can try including pancetta in frittata recipes, scrambled eggs, or breakfast hash. Another popular option is to serve crispy pancetta alongside eggs Benedict or avocado toast.

What are highly-rated pancetta recipes by renowned chefs?

Celebrity chefs have shared their flavorful pancetta creations, such as Nigella Lawson’s Warm Potato Salad with Pancetta and Brown Butter Dressing, Jamie Oliver’s Spaghetti Carbonara, and Ina Garten’s Pancetta and Leek Quiche. These recipes showcase the versatility and rich flavor of pancetta.

What are the best ways to use smoked pancetta?

Smoked pancetta can be used in a variety of dishes. Due to its smoky flavor, it works well in hearty soups, such as minestrone or split pea soup. Smoked pancetta can also be diced and sautéed with vegetables as a base for risottos or pasta sauces. For sandwich lovers, adding sliced smoked pancetta to a panini or club sandwich can elevate the taste.

What are some tasty pancetta dishes from reputable sources?

Websites like Food & Wine, BBC Good Food, and Bon Appétit offer a plethora of delicious pancetta recipes, ranging from appetizers and salads to main courses and sides. Some noteworthy dishes include Pancetta-Wrapped Asparagus, Sweet Potato and Pancetta Gratin, and Creamy Pancetta and Pea Farfalle. You can trust these sources for mouthwatering recipes and useful cooking tips.

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Savory Tomato Pasta with Shallots and Pancetta + More

This Creamy Tomato Pasta is a great option when you're looking for a comforting, delicious meal but don't have much time. Your meal is ready in under 30 minutes and features a savory tomato cream sauce made with tomato puree (passata), shallots, salty pancetta, mascarpone cheese, and a pinch of chili flakes, adding a bit of slight heat.

Serve this dish with your favorite type of pasta, and don't forget a slice of warm, crusty, chewy Italian bread or focaccia to sop up all that yummy sauce. This is the perfect meal for any busy weeknight, so why not try it and see what you think? Bon Appetit!

5 from 6 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes mins

Cook Time 20 minutes mins

Total Time 25 minutes mins

Course Breakfast, Main Course, Side Dish

Cuisine Italian

Servings 4

Calories 775 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of your favorite pasta short recommended
  • 2 finely sliced shallots
  • 3 cups passata or tomato puree
  • cup pancetta
  • 2 Tbsp mascarpone
  • cup white wine
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ Tsp red pepper chili flakes
  • Parmigiano Reggiano topping

Instructions

  • Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add an ample amount of salt.

  • Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add your pancetta and fry until lightly golden. Stir in your sliced shallots and red pepper flakes, and sauté for 1-2 minutes until soft.

  • Pour in your wine and reduce by half. Add your tomatoes and a nice pinch of salt, stirring to combine your ingredients. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

  • After 5 minutes, add your pasta to your boiling water and cook until al dente, 8-9 minutes, depending on shape and brand.

  • Once your sauce has finished simmering, stir in your mascarpone until combined. Simmer for a few more minutes until your pasta is done. Add cooked pasta to your sauce and mix them, then serve with some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Notes

This recipe uses Italian tomato passata, a smooth purée of tomatoes without added sugar, flavoring, herbs, or garlic. In the US, this is called tomato puree (not to be confused with tomato concentrate). Mutti and Cirio are two popular brands.

Depending on your preference, you can adjust the chili flakes to taste, leaving them out or adding more.

Any pasta shape will work, but shorter bodies work best.

Reserve some of the pasta water in case you need it to thicken the sauce.

Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to three days and can be eaten cold or reheated on the stovetop. If reheating, add a splash of water to loosen the sauce.

If you're looking for a delicious vegetarian option, try swapping out the pancetta for some diced mushrooms sautéed in a bit of olive oil. You can also add some fresh herbs like basil or parsley to the sauce for an extra burst of flavor.

If you're feeling extra fancy, you can top this Creamy Tomato Pasta with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese for a delicious finishing touch. Another great option is to add some cooked, diced chicken or shrimp for a heartier meal.

Nutrition

Calories: 775kcal

Keyword Pancetta Recipes, Tomato Pasta with Shallots and Pancetta

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Cassie Marshall

Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.

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15 Best Pancetta Recipes (2024)

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