Barbazza con Sagrantino & Salvia


One of our favorite restaurants here in Umbria is Enoteca L’Alchimista in Montefalco. It is a small family run restaurant that is packed year round, and during the summer you can dine outdoors under umbrellas in the main piazza of Montefalco which is lovely.

What I like most about this restaurant is that the menu changes often, and is completely unique compared to many other local restaurants that serve the same typical Umbrian dishes year round. At l’Alchimista, they use traditional Umbrian products, but in very interesting and different ways, and keep the menu very seasonal but always true to Umbria.

One of our favorite appetizers we order when we dine here is called Barbazza con Sagrantino & Salvia , which basically uses strips of bacon-like meat that they fry in Sagrantino wine with sage. Sagrantino wine is Umbria’s most famous wine and is a very dry, tanic red wine.

This is a very delicious and unique dish that I have not seen served anywhere else. The wine adds a subtle flavor and sage is always a great combination with pork. I always love “recipes” like this one that are very regional, require just a few good quality ingredients, and taste delicious!

I decided to attempt this dish at home recently while my family was visiting, knowing that they would love it as they all love bacon. Researching this dish further, I read that barbazza usually refers to guanciale, a cured pork product made with pig’s jowls.

Though I do love guanciale and use it often in my cooking, I decided I would prefer pancetta in this dish as it has a milder, more “bacon-like” flavor. I bought a slab of pancetta, and cut it myself into strips. I cut my strips fairly thin this time, and I think when I make this dish in the future I will cut my pancetta into thicker strips.

Since Sagrantino wine is quite difficult to find outside of Italy, I’d recommend using any full bodied, dry red wine which will work in this dish. I’d suggest planning on 4 to 5 strips per person as it is delicious. Feel free to try this dish with strips of guanciale if available as I am sure it would be tasty as well. Serve this dish with some crusty unsalted bread and enjoy!



Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Barbazza con Sagrantino & Salvia

Barbazza con Sagrantino & Salvia

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes

Strips of pancetta or guanciale fried in red wine and seasoned with sage leaves make a great Umbrian appetizer.


  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 20 Strips Pancetta (See Notes Above)
  • 3/4 Cup Dry Red Wine
  • 10 Large Fresh Sage Leaves


  1. In a very large skillet, heat the olive oil until lightly smoking, then cook the pancetta over medium heat along with the sage until the pancetta is no longer pink, but not yet crisp, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the wine and continue to cook, stirring often until the wine has been completely absorbed.
  3. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 802Total Fat: 79gSaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 46gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 47mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 13g

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. This looks like a wonderful dish I’d like to try. Did you chop the sage leaves at all or leave them whole when you cooked them with the pancetta?

  2. This looks delicious. I think I would serve that with some rocket and mozzarella. Yum!

  3. What a great dish. I love finding things that are completely new tome, and this is one. I can just imagine the taste of the Sagrantino and the pork. I must try this. Thanks!

  4. Oh my! When this was cooking, I was already apologizing to my guests. When you add the wine, it looks a little unruly. I thought I had ruined good pancetta. BUT, once it absorbs the liquid as described, it’s unbelievable. I love the idea of serving it with arugula / rocket.

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