Jim’s flat pancetta

Jim’s flat pancetta

Nuovo Mondo
Alan Benson

I love pancetta for many reasons, although I only recently attempted to make my own. I was prepared for the project to go wrong, but to my surprise the end result was extremely good. It is now all we use in the restaurant. This recipe is foolproof: just make sure the pork is sufficiently cured before drying, and don’t dry it in a place that is too hot – it needs to dry slowly.


Quantity Ingredient
4 garlic cloves, peeled
14g sodium nitrate
50g salt
30g raw sugar
2 tsp fennel seeds
4 bay leaves
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
3 thyme
2 tbsp black peppercorns
1 large pork belly, ribs removed


  1. Use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind the garlic, sodium nitrate, salt, sugar, fennel seeds, bay leaves, nutmeg, thyme and half of the pepper to make a powder.
  2. Line a tray with plastic wrap with enough overhang on each side to enable you to wrap the pork. Evenly spread half of the cure mixture over the bottom of the tray.
  3. Place the pork on the cure mixture, skin side down, and cover with remaining the cure. Fold the plastic wrap over the pork to loosely wrap it, trying to make sure the cure is touching the flesh. Leave for at least 1 week in the refrigerator for the pork to become firm. Unwrap the pork and rinse thoroughly.
  4. Coat the flesh with remaining ground pepper. At each end of the belly, use a sharp knife to pierce a small hole in the flesh and use some kitchen string to thread through so that you can securely hang the pork.
  5. Hang the pancetta in a cool, humid place (not the refrigerator) for a further 1 week until the meat is dry and very firm. Store unwrapped in the refrigerator for up to a month and slice as needed.


  • I am declaring a ban on imitation pancetta – that meat roll with no fat that is typically sold in most supermarkets. Pancetta without fat has no purpose in the kitchen, especially when it is used to wrap anything to be roasted. It is worthwhile learning how to make pancetta or where to buy the real thing. It makes the best tomato-based sauces for pasta and is wonderful in spaghetti alla carbonara.
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