Many modern recipes for cooked dishes using Parma ham would be better off made with pancetta. Like Parma ham, it is a raw piece of pork that has been air-cured to make it edible.

However pancetta is made from the section of pork belly that is also used to make streaky bacon, and it is flavoured with brine that includes such herbs and spices as nutmeg, fennel, pepper and garlic.

In British supermarkets it is usually found rolled and finely sliced, which is okay as long as you want fine slices. Look to deli-counters and speciality retailers for unrolled pieces of pancetta that can be cut as thickly as necessary.

A smoked version can also be found, which gives dishes an intense pungent flavour.

Chop it into chunky lardons to fry for pasta sauces and casseroles. Wrap fine slices around batons of polenta or stalks of asparagus for grilling. Use in place of other bacon.