Prosciutto vs. Pancetta

Just because two types of meat come from the same animal doesn’t mean that they’re in any way the same! The different body parts of an animal give off different tastes and textures. The pig is no exception here; besides the prized breakfast food of bacon, prosciutto and pancetta are two popular uses for the animal. They differ in most tangible qualities, from the recipes they’re used in to the way they’re cooked and everything in between. We take a look at what makes prosciutto and pancetta different below!

What Body Part Do They Come From?

Perhaps the most telling difference between prosciutto and pancetta has to do with what part of the pig they come from. Prosciutto comes from pork belly, which means that it has a firm texture but deceivingly vibrant flavors. Pancetta, on the other hand, comes from a pig’s hind legs. Pancetta has a far smoother texture than prosciutto, and the flavor is much more delicate than the pork belly. Because of these differences in taste and texture, the recipes that they’re used in vary greatly.

What Recipes Can They Be Used In?

The taste and texture doesn’t just make their uses different; prosciutto and pancetta are often eaten at two completely separate parts of the meal! The main use for prosciutto is as a staple of charcuterie boards, as the meat here is often lightweight and easy to consume. This quality also makes prosciutto a staple of sub sandwiches. Pancetta, however, is an ingredient often used in full-fledged recipes. Pancetta’s variety is far and wide, being used in pasta recipes, soups, salads, and stews to name a few. While pancetta is more versatile than prosciutto, both have a fair share of uses.

Cooking Preparations

Did you know that there’s even a difference in the way these meats are cooked? It all has to do with a process called curing, which is the process of preserving food in the hopes that moisture will escape it. This leads to a far more powerful flavor. Pancetta is only cured, which means that you need to cook it before eating it. Prosciutto, on the other hand, doesn’t have to be cooked, as the curing process is much longer and the meat is air dried as well.

Italian Delights at Trattoria Il Panino

From prosciutto to pancetta and everything in between, Trattoria Il Panino is home to a variety of flavor profiles and Italian cuisines that make all taste buds happy. You’ll have the experience of an authentic Italian restaurant without ever leaving Boston! To experience the wonders of Italian cuisine for yourself, click here to make a reservation with us!