Pancetta is dry salted, cured pork belly.
For the most part, there are two forms of pancetta that can be found: pancetta ‘stesa’ which remains flat or natural state with similar look to what we know in the United States as ‘bacon’. The other is pancetta ‘arrotolata’ that we find ‘rolled’. Variations of these two basic forms a pancetta can be found regionally throughout Italy each influenced by things such as climate, breed of pig, seasonings and the history of local culture.
Pancetta ‘stesa’ is made by curing pork belly with salt and additional spices/seasonings. Curing time happens between 5- 7 days, then an additional 14 – 21 days where product is hung in a cool / humid environment to dry and develop its unique flavor profile.
This is Pancetta ‘arrotolata’, and it is produced in the same fashion as ‘stesa’. Once the pancetta has cured, addition seasonings are added before rolling into a log shape, it is then rolled up, tied and hung to dry. The texture will be softer, more delicate and have increased moisture compared to pancetta stesa.