This isn’t the greatest photo in the world, but here’s the 2008 pancetta in progress. This year I used the gorgeous pork I bought from my Milk Lady — it was significantly meatier than the commercial pork belly I bought last year. This proved something of a challenge when it came time to roll this puppy — it was more like wrestling than rolling, but I did finally get a nice, tight cylinder.
I started out with the pancetta in the basement, because it’s cooler than upstairs, but it’s so dry down there (this is the west, after all). I couldn’t get more than about 20% humidity down there, and it’s between 30-40% upstairs thanks to the winter humidifier. The pancetta seems much happier upstairs. It’s not drying out too fast, or getting that hard skin on it that Ruhlman’s book tells you to avoid. And it’s sort of cheery in there with all my home-canned goods from this summer. My inner old-immigrant-woman is very happy every time I look in there. I’m set for winter: pasta, tomatoes, pancetta, jam, a big basket of onions from my garden.