Pancetta Wrapped Asparagus

5 stars based on 23 votes

asparagus

This is one of my favorite ways to serve asparagus because it’s big on flavor yet incredibly simple to make. All you do is wrap big, thick asparagus spears with pancetta and sauté them in a hot pan until nice and crisp. Even though the spears are wrapped, they cook perfectly and take on the salty, “porky” flavor of the pancetta, which is so delicious! I’ve served them with simply roasted chicken and grilled salmon — both very good — but I especially love them for brunch alongside eggs or quiche.

ingredients

Before we get to the recipe, a few words on pancetta, which is simply Italian bacon.  Just like American bacon, it’s made from pork belly and cured — the difference is that it’s not smoked.  You can find it in the deli at most supermarkets and sometimes precut and packaged in the refrigerated gourmet foods aisle.  If can’t find it, bacon is a good substitute; just make sure it’s very thinly sliced so it cooks quickly and adheres to the asparagus.

wrapped-asparagus

Begin by wrapping each spear tightly with a slice of pancetta. Since the pancetta is sliced thin, there will be some holes; don’t worry about it.

cooking-asparagus

Cook the spears in a large pan in batches, until the asparagus is just tender and the pancetta is crisp. Drain briefly on paper towels to get rid of any excess grease, then serve immediately while the pancetta is still crisp. Note that the pancetta will lose its crispness as it sits, but it will still be delicious.

Pancetta-Wrapped-Asparagus

Note: You can wrap the asparagus with pancetta a day ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to cook.

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Pancetta Wrapped Asparagus

Servings: 4
Total Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch thick asparagus (12-15 spears; about 1 pound), trimmed
  • 12-15 thin slices pancetta
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Wrap a slice of pancetta tightly around each asparagus spear. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and coat lightly with vegetable oil (the more oil you use, the crispier the pancetta will be -- just be careful not to use too much or it will splatter). Cook the asparagus, turning as each side browns, until they are just tender and the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up any excess grease, then transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.
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Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    My dinner party recipe! So easy but looks wonderful and taste even better! I served this with grilled salmon & rice. Yum

    - Linda on February 1, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Such and easy dish to make that looks like a real show stopper! I use the make mature asparagus rather than thin stalks, wrapped with the pancetta and if I’m out, I’ve been known to use prosciutto which wraps fine- just be more attentive when cooking. Thanks for a tasty offering that guests love!

    - Barbara on November 30, 2017 Reply
  • I am making your asian syle flat iron steak today and do not have sherry. Can you tell me what a good substitute might be?

    - Maryellen Staab on May 21, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Maryellen, If you have Chinese rice wine, that would work best. Otherwise, you can use dry vermouth or white wine – it won’t have quite the same Asian flair but it will still be very good.

      - Jenn on May 22, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thus has become ny go-to veggie dish for dinner guests. Easy and delicious!

    - TJBrazell on May 15, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made these for Easter Sunday dinner – they were absolutely delicious with very little effort!!! Thank you so much.

    - Christine on April 19, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made these for Easter Brunch with my family, and they went over great. My spears were quite thick, so in addition to trimming them, I also slightly peeled the base. Super easy to make (cleaned and wrapped the night before) and a beautiful flavor. I am happy to know another way to prepare one of my favorite vegetables. I will be making these on a regular basis!

    - PaulainVA on April 16, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These were soooo good! I did find the pancetta to be a bit salty so I made these again using prosciutto and found it just as delicious with the just the right amount of saltiness. I liked the taste and crispness of the asparagus pan fried. The color was bright and appetizing and it was beautiful serving this at home even though it looked and tasted like a side from a restaurant dish.

    - Mia Goan on March 5, 2017 Reply
  • Would you recommend cooking these ahead of time and serving cold? I try to avoid serving appetizers that I have to worry about keeping warm after putting them out to eat.

    - Carolyn Wapler on February 21, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Carolyn, I think these are probably best hot, but would still be tasty cold. (The pancetta may not be crispy, though.)

      - Jenn on February 22, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Outstanding appetizer!
    I have made this recipe numerous times and it is always a hit at the party! There are similar recipes where you put the asparagus in the oven but I find that doing this in the saucepan instead results in crispier pancetta. By the same token, the other recipes sometimes call for prosciutto and that does not get as crispy.

    - Sheila on February 14, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made and served these for a brunch for a group of my friends. This was so easy and delicious. I had never done anything with pancetta but I found it easy enough in the grocery store. It was a delicious way to fix asparagus. My friends were impressed!

    - Kirby Bullard on October 6, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is so simple but so very good! I love asparagus but this kicks it up a notch. I’ve made it with pancetta & also wrapped in bacon. Both are delicious but pancetta is company worthy!

    - Stephanie Schiltz on October 6, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Simple but very tasty! I have been eating it on my Culinary tour in Italy.

    - Carol on August 2, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Using your Rosemary Steak & grilled potato recipe tonight. The goal is to keep all cooking outdoors. Would these do okay on the grill? Any tips?

    - Tori on July 12, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Tori, sounds like a yummy dinner! While it involves a little more work, you could use skewers to grill the asparagus. Check out the details here. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on July 12, 2016 Reply
  • 3 stars

    Love these but they were a little too salty for me. How do I make them less salty?

    - Chandra on August 27, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Chandra, Unfortunately, pancetta is a little salty — there is no way around it. Sorry!

      - Jenn on August 30, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jen,

    I can’t always find pancetta, but these are equally as delicious wrapped in proscuitto. Serving them tonight alongside a grilled steak. Thanks for all the great recipes! Love, love, love your website.

    - Linda on May 16, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I absolutely love asparagus, but it always seem to be one of those veggies that I tend to pass by because I don’t really know what to do with them. But this looks so wonderful and easy that I know I can and will make it. My husband will be thrilled as it is one of his all-time faves.

    - Robin W on May 12, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is so simple and tastes like a million!! I love your recipes Jenn. They are so easy to follow!! I look forward to all your creations! Thank you.

    - Anna Janssen on May 4, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was amazing!!! Thanks so much for posting. My hubby loves me just a little bit more now! 🙂

    - Tara B on March 31, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Can this dish be baked instead of pan fried? If so, for how long and what temperature? Thanks! It really looks delicious!

    - Stephanie on March 30, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Stephanie, It does need to be pan fried, otherwise it won’t get crisp. Sorry!

      - Jenn on March 30, 2015 Reply
  • Why would you want to use thick asparagus as opposed to thin? I find the thick asparagus to be very fibrous and unpleasant to eat.

    - Laura S. on March 29, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Laura, The thin asparagus is hard to wrap and will also overcook in the time it takes the pancetta to crisp up. Fresh thick asparagus should not be fibrous if you trim the ends.

      - Jenn on March 30, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delicious and crisp!

    - Beth Culley on March 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I put these wrapped aspeargus on the BBQ top shelf…they are delicious with the smoky flavour, and the smell drives my neighbours crazy!

    - Jane on March 26, 2015 Reply
  • Hi Jen, your recipe for asparagus wrapped in pancetta is scrumptious beyond words. The first time I made this, I did not make enough, so I doubled it the next time. I served this for company and needless to say it was loved my everyone. I sure enjoy your recipes!!! Joanne

    - Joanne on March 21, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Super simple! Super yummy!

    - Sharon on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • I love all your recipes and thank you for everything you do! You are my go to site for a winning recipe. My question is if I could use marinated asparagus?
    Thank you…m

    - Marty on February 16, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Marty, Thank you for the feedback — so glad you’re enjoying the recipes! Is the marinated asparagus cooked or raw?

      - Jenn on February 16, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I love salty things with veggies or seafood! I recently discovered if you bake pancetta on a silpat or parchment, it gets very cripsy and you can crumble it and the possibilities are endless! Hello, where have I been?!
    I made these but put them on racks I sprayed with non stick spray and baked them, crispy and delicious! I mixed a little dijon mustard and honey and glazed them right out of the oven, and sprinkled a little black pepepr, another tasty option.
    Thanks Jenn!

    - Lana on December 17, 2014 Reply
  • Any tips on wrapping the pancetta? I made it and the pancetta was loose & floppy!
    Not sure how to secure it.
    Help!

    - Penny Davis on December 2, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Penny, I find that it works best with very thinly sliced pancetta. Was yours on the thick side?

      - Jenn on December 4, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    What a delicious and easy way to serve asparagus. I would stress using enough oil in the pan so the asparagus doesn’t stick, and it comes out really crispy in the time it takes to cook the asparagus. I like the suggestion below about serving as an appetizer too. Even cold, as long as they pancetta stays crispy, these would be good.

    - egbluesuede on September 4, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I am a vegetarian. Often trying to adjust the flavor of fat from meat I usually just use fresh herbs or in this case roast vegies.
    I have made these using the addition of a slice of roasted red peppers with a sliver of aged parmesan and wrap in roasted zucchini. I season well with salt, pepper, a little italian seasoning and a small splash of aged balsamic vinegar.

    - sandy on July 10, 2014 Reply
  • Jenn, thanks for your response. I just made this per your directions and it’s amazing! My whole family loved it!

    - Mary on May 12, 2014 Reply
  • This looks so delicious! Can I roast quickly in the oven rather than sauteing?

    - Mary on May 12, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Mary, I’m afraid the pancetta wouldn’t crisp up as well; I’d stick to sautéing. Sorry!

      - Jenn on May 12, 2014 Reply
  • I’ve been making these for awhile and they are delicious! So easy to prep and prepare. The asparagus cooks to a perfect crisp tender. A nice change up for asparagus and makes a pretty plate presentation. Would work as an appetizer, too. A must try!!!!

    - WendyP on April 3, 2014 Reply
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