chef Giada De Laurentiis smiling at an event
The Bacon Swap Giada De Laurentiis Uses For Better BLTs

Many chefs have created countless spins on the classic BLT (bacon, lettuce, and tomato) sandwich, including Giada de Laurentiis, who uses pancetta instead of bacon.

This pork product first gets cured in a blend of salt and various spices, then folded onto itself and allowed to age for weeks until it can be safely consumed without cooking.

Bacon, on the other hand, gets smoked instead of spiced and should not be consumed raw. Pancetta is often called "Italian bacon," but the two are more different than they appear.

Seared pancetta adds a rich, spiced pork flavor to a BLT that cannot be replicated with regular bacon. De Laurentiis pairs it with spicy mayo to complement the umami flavors.

BLT purists insist that the sandwich is perfect as-is, but you can add more to it. Giada de Laurentiis' pancetta BLT recipe is more of a BLAT since it also includes avocado.