Pork from the head to the shoulder is used to make the cured meat known as guanciale, which has a high solid, easily-shaved texture.
You may eat it raw or cook it since it is a superb cut from good fat.
After being adequately butchered, the meat is seasoned with pepper, salt, and spices (mainly black pepper), left to cure in the open air for at least 60 days, tied, and sometimes smoked to enhance its rustic and genuine flavor.
For this reason, it is a highly prized food, but how should it be stored? Let’s figure it out together.
How to Store Sliced Guanciale
If you buy sliced guanciale, you can keep it fresh in the fridge for up to a day if you store it in the crisper drawer with your fruits and vegetables, away from the coldest part of the fridge.
Due to the high percentage of fat in its composition, spoilage is rapid upon exposure to air.
White, pinkish fat, and a soft red color all through the flesh indicate freshness.
If the latter are very luminous, the product is overly complex.
Conversely, if something smells bad or is a dismal yellow or brown color, it’s probably not in the best condition for storage.
In this case, you should not eat the food to avoid feeling sick.
To ensure you have enough guanciale, you can choose the kinds that come in trays that are possible to find in the meat section of any grocery store.
If you store these packages and don’t open them, they will last longer than fresh salami from the deli counter.
Tips for Keeping Sliced Guanciale Fresh
If you cover the sliced portion with a clean dish towel or a fresh piece of plastic wrap between uses, you can preserve its organoleptic qualities for up to a month.
You should buy as much as you need for your family’s consumption to save money and product.
Can Guanciale Be Frozen?
It’s probably not a good idea because the fat content would render it nearly tasteless.
It is best to remove fatty parts of cold cuts before freezing; otherwise, they will quickly go rancid.
It dries out and gets a rubbery texture when temps are low.
Major Differences Between Storing Sliced and Whole Guanciale
Sliced fresh guanciale has a substantially shorter shelf life than entire slices because its thinness makes it more susceptible to drying out and spoiling than a thicker whole slice. You should refrigerate any version you choose.
Difference Between Guanciale and Pancetta (Bacon)
The latter is less valuable, containing fewer noble fatty parts, and is therefore cheaper.
The primary difference between guanciale and pancetta is the part of the pig from which the flesh is sourced; guanciale comes from the pig’s throat and shoulder, while pancetta, as the name suggests, is sourced from the pig’s belly.
The latter is unquestionably less desirable because it contains fewer noble fatty components and is less expensive.
Calories and Nutritional Values of Guanciale
100 grams of guanciale has a nutritional value of 655 calories, including:
- 6.38 grams of protein
- 22.19 grams of water
- 69.61 grams of fat, including 25.26 grams of saturated acid fat, 32.89 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 8.11 grams of polyunsaturated fat
- 90 mg of cholesterol
- 148 mg of potassium
- 86 mg of phosphorus
- 4 mg calcium
- 3 mg magnesium
- No carbohydrates and fiber.
Due to its high calorie and saturated fat content, overeating cured meat can lead to several health problems, including bloating, high blood pressure, and increased bad cholesterol.
How to Cut Guanciale
Depending on your tastes and needs at the time, there are several ways in which you can cut the guanciale:
- thinly sliced: this can be done either with the help of a well-sharpened knife or a slicer
- in cubes or strips: perfect for preparing numerous recipes or for being served as an appetizer/aperitif
- in large cubes to be grilled on their own or combined with other meats to make flavorful skewers of various types of meat.
Recipes with Guanciale
1. Pasta Alla Zozzona
This filthy rich dish of Roman cuisine can win everyone over at the first taste, as it is irresistibly flavorful.
This dish may not have the same fame as carbonara or amatriciana, but it is nonetheless delicious and deserving of a try.
Ingredients for four people:
- 300g of rigatoni
- 250g of pork sausage
- 350g of peeled tomatoes
- Four medium egg yolks
- One slice of guanciale (200g)
- Enough extra virgin olive oil
- 100g of pecorino romano cheese, 60g grated, and 40 extra for whipping
- Cook the pasta in a pan with boiling and salted water.
- Cut the guanciale into strips.
- Cut sausage into small pieces.
- In a big frying pan, splash some oil, add the guanciale and sausage, and brown them over low heat for a quarter of an hour, occasionally stirring so they don’t burn.
- Now add the tomatoes, cover with a lid and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
- Put the yolks and 60 grams of pecorino cheese into a small bowl and mix well to make nice thick cream.
- Follow the directions on the package for how to cook the pasta.
- Add a ladleful of the pasta cooking water to the cream of pecorino and yolks.
- Add the beaten egg yolk cream and mix the pasta into the pan with the guanciale.
- Whisk over low heat with remaining pecorino cheese and serve.
2. Sage Grass Guanciale
Sage grass guanciale is a good substitute for traditional beef carpaccio.
It goes perfectly well as an appetizer or a main course.
Ingredients for two people:
- 300g of thinly sliced guanciale;
- 10 sage leaves;
- 30ml white wine;
- 75ml glass of wine vinegar;
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil;
- One clove of garlic
- Brown the unpeeled garlic clove and sage leaves in the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Lay the slices of guanciale, deglaze with the vinegar and allow the latter to evaporate.
- Lower the flame once the vinegar has completely evaporated. And your wine and let it evaporate.
- Remove the guanciale from the pan using a skimmer when it reaches the required crispiness, and serve with the cooking liquid.
To help readers better comprehend a well-known product in Italian cuisine, this final section of the guide will answer the most often asked questions regarding guanciale.
Can Guanciale Be Eaten During Pregnancy?
Since in raw products, the risk of toxoplasmosis is pretty high,it is recommended to cook the guanciale to protect the fetus from any bacteria that might harm the mother.
Which Are The Distinctive Aesthetic Traits of Guanciale?
The average guanciale weighs less than a kilogram, making it much smaller than other cured meats.
The upper part (the part that is cut) has a white coloring, while near the rind area, it is possible to detectdark pink/light red veins.
After cutting a slice, a composition that is strikingly similar to bacon will be observed: very little of the flesh is composed of lean muscle; the remainder is primarily fat.
How Is Guanciale Produced?
Guanciale is a staple product in most of the Central-South regions of Italy.
To be slaughtered, pigs need to be at least nine months old. Once the pigs are killed, the jowl flesh is cut into sections and meticulously trimmed into the typical triangular shape.
After 4 or 5 days, it is salted by hand several times before spices or other aromatic herbs are added.
Curing is done in underground cellars for roughly two to three months, although tanning methods vary by region.
Some charcuteries also offer products treated by smoking in oak or beech wood.
How to Consume Guanciale?
The cured pork known as guanciale is rarely consumed in its raw form, but it is the star ingredient in several regional specialties, including carbonara, amatriciana, and gricia.
The high percentage of fat content guarantees a creamy sauce and tender meat.
Which Wines Go Well with Guanciale?
Guanciale goes well with red and young, fruity and fresh wines, perhaps even sparkling, such as Lambrusco di Sorbara, Chianti di Moltalbano or Merlot Friuli-Grave.