Monday, March 22, 2010

Fresh Pancetta have always considered dabbling in charcuterie for this blog, but thought that it was maybe slightly impractical; after all, I do live in a studio.  As with most things in the kitchen, practicality failed to keep me down for long.  This week, I took my first stab at cured meats, making a "fresh" pancetta. Yes, fresh charcuterie-- not quite the real deal, but for me, it was a big first step towards the land of salt-preserved pig parts.  Fresh pancetta is simple to make, and it is a perfect substitute for the real deal in recipes.  Step by step instructions for making fresh pancetta follow.

First, take a large piece of pork belly.  If you can find it, use a skin-on pork belly; I used skinless.

Then, cover the pork belly in a light coating of salt:

 Next, place the pork on a large plate or rimmed baking wrap and cover the it with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate it for 3 days.  The salt should dissolve into the meat after a day or so:

Preheat the oven to 325F.  After 3 days in the refrigerator, pat the pork dry with paper towels.  Place it on a rimmed baking sheet (if you refrigerated the pork on a baking sheet, dry it off).  Cook the pork until it is soft and nearly fork tender; depending on the size of the pork belly this will take from an hour to an hour and a half:

Let the pancetta cool, then wrap it in plastic wrap.  If you used a skin-on pork belly, peal the skin off with your fingers.  Refrigerate the pancetta for up to two weeks or portion it into smaller servings and freeze them for up to 6 months.  Enjoying it in dishes such as spaghetti all'Amatrician:

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