Pancetta o Guanciale? What's the difference?

History and origins

We all know the Italian pancetta because of two famous recipes: spaghetti alla carbonara and bucatini all'amatriciana. But sometimes we get confused: should we use Pancetta or Guanciale to make it right? First of all, let's see what the main difference between the two is. Pancetta comes from the Italian world "pancia" which means belly (pork). Guanciale on the other hand comes from "guancia" which is means cheek (pork). The production of the two meats is also different as they require different spices and maturing periods.
In terms of the recipes, from recent studies it seems that the Carbonara is not a very old dish of the Italian tradition as there is no trace of it until 1944. It seems that the Allies fighting in Italy during the Second World War, started to appreciate one of the local recipes from Abruzzo: pasta cacio e ova (cheese and eggs) and naturally added some bacon imported from the States. Therefore, it seems like there is no traditional recipe rule, but people from Rome, who claim to have invented the dish, believe that the "original carbonara" is with Guanciale. In our opinion, you can cook with either one as it will be delicious either way!

Current use and suggestions

There are a lot of other recipes you can make with pancetta.

The one we have published on our website and made by Osteria Italiana is called Eat and Drink, which is pancetta wrapped around some spring onions, cooked on a pan with a bit of oil and served with balsamic vinegar glaze.