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How to Cook Pancetta in the Oven

author image Lydia Stephens
Lydia Stephens began writing professionally in 2009. She has written online for Nile Guides, and various other websites and has been published in "Stringing Magazine" and "Xiamen Wave." Stephens played competitive soccer for 19 years, has been weight lifting since 2007 and enjoys running, biking and sailing. She has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Texas.
How to Cook Pancetta in the Oven
Sliced pancetta Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business/Getty Images

Pancetta, an air-cured pork belly, is the Italian equivalent of bacon. It comes from the same cut of pork but has a rich, salty flavor without the smokiness of bacon. Make a crispy and crunchy topping for soups, salads, casseroles or sandwiches or wrapper for vegetables, fruits or seafood by cooking pancetta in your oven. When you bake or broil instead of pan-frying pancetta, you'll allow some of the melted fat to drip away to get the same crispy topping with fewer calories.

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As a Topping

Step 1

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pancetta slices in a single layer on a ridged baking sheet to allow the melted fat to drip away from the meat.

Step 2

Place the baking sheet in your oven and cook the pancetta 10 to 12 minutes, or until crisp.

Step 3

Carefully transfer the pancetta slices from the baking sheet to a paper towel to help absorb any remaining grease. Serve as is on sandwiches. You can also crumble the slices to toss in salad or sprinkle on soups or casseroles.

As a Wrapper

Step 1

Preheat the broiler in your oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 2

Cut each pancetta slice in half. Wrap each half around a bite-size chunk of vegetable, fruit or seafood such as asparagus, fig, pear, peach, pineapple, cauliflower, shrimp or scallops. Secure the pancetta to the stuffing by placing a toothpick through the area where the two pancetta ends overlap.

Step 3

Place the pancetta-wrapped items in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place them 3 to 4 inches beneath the broiler's heating element and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until the pancetta is golden brown.

Step 4

Remove from the baking sheet and serve hot.

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