The Cured Meats of Italy

Cured Meats in Italy

various salumi

Whether they are made of pork, as is most often the case, or of beef, veal, buck, goat, chamois, venison, sheep, wild boar, or horse, cured meats (salumi in Italian) were born of a need to conserve meat for months after the slaughter of the animal. Salting, smoking, and air-drying are the three processes by which fresh meat is transformed into a long-keeping staple.

While all meats are salted, some are smoked, and others are simply air-dried.Italians have been making an amazing array of cured meats for thousands of years using both noble and humble parts of the animals they raise. The ancient Romans prized the spicy pork sausages crafted in the southern region of Basilicata (called Lucania then, and giving rise to sausages named Lucaniche still eaten today). And, fond of intensely tasty foods, they smoked or salted whole pig thighs, yielding savory Prosciutti not unlike those still made in mountain villages across Italy.

goat cheese wrapped in speck

Two thousand years later, pork remains Italy's favorite meat for curing. Pigs are especially prevalent in areas where there is a notable cheesemaking tradition: after all, wherever there is cheese, there is excess whey, which, combined with bran and corn, becomes perfect feed for pigs.

Italian salumi fall under two categories: those obtained from a whole cut of meat, such as a boneless thigh or shoulder (Prosciutto, Pancetta, Coppa, Culatello, and more); and those obtained from minced, ground, or chopped meat that is stuffed into casings, known as insaccati in Italian (salami, sausages, and more). Salumi can range in size from tiny to imposing; they can be delicate or fiercely hot; they can be spreadable or hard; they may be best eaten raw, with a slab of bread, or be meant for cooking. Some are so particular that they are only made in one town or village, virtually unknown elsewhere in the country; others have become famous not only within Italy, but across the ocean.

preparing a salumi platter

The best place to discover this incredible range of cured meats is the salumeria, Italy's take on the delicatessen. Salumerie across Italy stock the country's most renowned salumi (Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto Cotto, Mortadella, Pancetta, Soppressata, and more) and a good number of local specialties; if you head to a salumeria in Trieste (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), you will have a chance to savor different cured meats than if you head to a salumeria in Cagliari (Sardinia). Because many Italian salumi are still cured on an artisanal level, relying on the meat of free-ranging animals or animals raised on specific feed such as chestnuts or corn, they are very flavorful and unique in character.

Salumi form an integral part of the Italian regional kitchen. They show up as appetizers in homes and trattorie: served with bread, they make a perfect opener to an informal meal. And while most cured meats arrive at the table unadorned, some (like Bresaola, air-dried beef from Lombardy) are marinated with olive oil, pepper, and perhaps a drizzle of lemon juice. Numerous recipes also call for bits of ham, salami, or other cured meats for added flavor and depth; this is especially true for savory pies, pasta sauces, and long-simmered meat stews.

When cooking with cured meats, keep in mind their inherent saltiness, spiciness, and aromatic qualities. Salt, a conserving agent, is used abundantly to ensure that the meat will keep for several months. Similarly, spices play a key role in conserving meat: black pepper, chili flakes, and ground red pepper are predominant, used more or less generously in different places and for different meats; in general, southern Italian salumi are spicier than northern Italian salumi. Fragrant herbs like wild fennel and rosemary also lend flavor to many cured meats, providing an aromatic accent to dishes that incorporate them.

Italian salumi can be rather expensive, and you may be wondering whether the domestic versions, which are often cheaper, can be substituted. I heartily recommend using Italian cured meats whenever possible: imported and domestic cured meats cannot be compared, since the animals are raised in different environments on different feed and then cured in different climates. The breed of animal used (hairy black pigs, mountain-roaming wild boar, and so on), the diet of the animal (corn, hay, chestnuts, bran, and more), and the peculiarities of place (salty air from the sea, heavy rainfall, mountain breezes) create cured meats with vastly different characters. Just as Prosciutto di Parma (Emilia-Romagna) tastes different from Prosciutto di Carpegna (the Marches), a ham from Baltimore cannot taste like one from Rome (Latium).

prosciutto on focaccia dough

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Useful link: To purchase a variety of salumi in the United States, visit Citterio.

Recipes

Torta Salata con Pancetta

Savory Pancetta Pie

Pancetta, unsmoked Italian bacon, shines in this savory pie.

For the pie:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ pound diced Pancetta
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (9 ounces)

To serve:

  • 4 cups packed baby greens
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

For the pie: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all the ingredients except the puff pastry in a bowl.

Roll out the puff pastry into a 10-inch square and line an 8-inch square baking dish with it. Prick with a fork and spoon in the Pancetta mixture.

Bake 45 minutes, or until the filling is set and the crust is golden and crisp.

To serve: Toss the greens with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange on 4 plates. Top with a wedge of pie and serve. Serves 4 as a first course, 8 as an appetizer

Bruschetta al Prosciutto con Mozzarella

Bruschetta with Prosciutto and Mozzarella

These delectable little packages can be assembled up to 4 hours prior to serving and refrigerated until you are ready to pop them under the broiler.

For the bruschetta:

  • 24 slices baguette
  • 12 thin slices Prosciutto di Parma or San Daniele, halved
  • 24 basil leaves
  • 12 sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained and halved
  • 24 bocconcini
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

  • 3 cups packed baby greens
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Make the bruschetta: Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the baguette slices on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Place the halved Prosciutto slices on a counter. Top each with 1 basil leaf, then a sliver of sundried tomato, and finally 1 of the bocconcini. Sprinkle with the pepper. Wrap to enclose in the Prosciutto and place 1 bundle on each baguette slice, seam side down.

Slip under the preheated broiler until the Prosciutto is crispy, the bocconcini are melted, and the bread is golden at the edges.

To serve: Toss all the ingredients in a bowl. Distribute the greens among 6 plates. Serve within minutes, while the bruschetta is hot and crispy. Serves 8

Torta Salata ai Quattro Formaggi con Prosciutto

Four-Cheese and Prosciutto Pie

The Prosciutto for this pie should be sliced thickly, then cubed; that way you will find tentalizing bits of Prosciutto throughout the filling. Thinly sliced Prosciutto tends to clump up and form a ball in the filling. Look for phyllo dough in the freezer section of well-stocked supermarkets, and defrost overnight in the refrigerator before assembling the pie. The pie can be prepared (but not baked) up to 12 hours ahead; pour on the custard mixture just before baking.

For the filling:

  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 pound fresh Mozzarella, coarsely grated
  • 1/4 pound Caciocavallo, coarsely grated
  • 2 ounces young goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 pound cubed Prosciutto di Parma

For the pie:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the custard mixture:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon unbleached all-purpose flour

Make the filling: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.

Make the pie: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a round 9-inch glass baking dish.

Line the baking dish with 1 phyllo sheet and brush very lightly with the olive oil, keeping the other phyllo sheets covered with a dry towel while you work (otherwise the phyllo will dry out and crack, becoming very difficult to work with). Part of the dough will hang over the sides of the pan, which is fine, since you will use it later to encase the filling.

Top with another phyllo sheet, arranging it askew from the first sheet, so the overlapping part falls in another area (not directly on top of where there is already overhanging phyllo); the goal is to form a sort of flower petal shape with the overhanging dough.

Continue in this manner, brushing lightly with olive oil and stacking phyllo rectangles slightly askew, until you have used 5 phyllo sheets.

Spoon on the filling and spread well, covering the dough.

Take the remaining phyllo sheet and cut it in half. Place the two halves on top of the cheese filling, brushing between them with olive oil.

Take the overhanging phyllo dough and fold it in, covering the filling entirely. The dough will look crumpled and creased, and it will not lie flat. That is fine.

Brush the top with olive oil.

Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and the pepper.

Make the custard mixture: Whisk the ingredients together in a bowl. Pour the custard mixture over the pie. As the pie bakes, the custard will set and create a soft, golden crust.

Bake in the preheated oven 40 minutes, or until golden, set, and crisp. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Serves 4 as a first course, 8 as an appetizer

Radicchio alla Griglia con Vinaigrette Tiepida e Pancetta

Grilled Radicchio in Warm Pancetta Dressing

Radicchio's bitterness can be tamed by blanching, a process that also makes it silky tender.

  • 2 heads radicchio di Treviso, halved lengthwise (6 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ pound Pancetta, diced
  • 2 large or 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Drop in the radicchio and 1 tablespoon of the salt and cook 2 minutes, or just until the radicchio wilts. Drain and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking. Very gently squeeze out excess water, trying to keep the radicchio halves intact.

Toss the radicchio with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper.

Heat a grill to a high flame.

Grill the radicchio until it is lightly softened and tinged with brown on both sides, turning once, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter.

Heat a 12-inch sauté pan over a medium flame. Add the Pancetta and shallots and cook until the Pancetta browns lightly and the shallots wilt, about 10 minutes. Raise the heat to high and stand back from the pan. Pour in the vinegar and cook until it reduces to a glaze, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and swirl gently to combine. Pour the warm vinaigrette over the radicchio and serve immediately. Serves 2 to 4

Involtini di Asparagi e Pancetta

Asparagus Spears Wrapped in Pancetta
Asparagus Spears Wrapped in Pancetta

White or green, it doesn’t really matter: whichever asparagus you prefer will be fine in this easy antipasto. Just be sure to select asparagus with tightly closed tips and firm, unblemished stems—the signs of freshness. Avoid very thick asparagus, which wouldn’t have the time to cook all the way through on the grill before the Pancetta burns. Remember to soak the toothpicks in water to cover for 30 minutes before using them to spear the asparagus bundles, or they will catch on fire on the grill.

  • 20 medium asparagus spears, bottoms trimmed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 20 thin slices Pancetta

Heat a grill (or a grill pan) to a medium-high flame. Place the asparagus spears on a cutting board with the tips lined up at the top. Cut the asparagus from the bottom so the spears are 4 inches long.

On a plate, combine the salt, pepper, and olive oil. Roll the asparagus in the olive oil mixture to coat evenly. Wrap 1 asparagus spear in 1 slice of Pancetta, holding the seam side of the Pancetta closed with one finger. Spear each with a toothpick to prevent unfurling.

Proceed in the same manner with the remaining asparagus and Pancetta.

Grill the asparagus until the fat on the Pancetta has melted and the Pancetta is cooked, about 5 minutes, turning often to cook evenly; the asparagus should still be crunchy and just tinged with brown. Serve hot, removing the toothpicks first. Makes 20

Mortadella alla Griglia con Mostarda di Frutta

Smoky Mortadella Wedges with Fruit Mustard

I remember family road trips across Italy when I was little, munching on panini stuffed with Mortadella in the back seat as the landscape whizzed by. Even now, whenever I eat Mortadella, I feel as though I'm headed somewhere special, on the road to discovery. Mortadella (a light pink, delicate, cooked sausage that gave rise to America's beloved bologna, for it hails from Bologna in Emilia-Romagna) is typically enjoyed thinly sliced in sandwiches or added to stuffings for pasta. But when thick wedges of it are slow-smoked on the grill, the result is magical. Since Mortadella is so wide, it is impossible to obtain thick slices that weigh any less than ½ pound or so. Yo serve these thick, meaty slices as an antipasto, I suggest you grill them whole, then cut them in eighths before serving. If you grill the Mortadella in wedges, it will dry out. I like to serve grilled Mortadella with a bracing accompaniment like Mostarda di Cremona, a spicy, mustard-laced fruit concoction that is usually paired with rich sausages or boiled meats and is a staple on northern Italian tables for New Year’s celebrations. You will find it in Italian markets and specialty shops.

  • Two ½-inch-thick medallions Mortadella (about 1/2 pound to 3/4 pound each)
  • 1 jar (1 and ½ cups) Mostarda di Cremona

Heat your grill to a medium flame.

Place the Mortadella medallions as far from the hottest part of the grill as possible; the aim is to slow-cook the Mortadella until it acquires a delicious, smoky scent. Cover the grill in order to smoke the Mortadella; if your grill doesn’t have a cover, drape a sturdy piece of aluminum foil over the Mortadella instead.

Cook 10 minutes, or until the Mortadella is lightly browned on the bottom. Uncover and turn. Cover again. Cook until the other side is also lightly browned and the Mortadella has acquired a smoky scent.

Remove to a cutting board and cut each medallion into eighths. Arrange the resulting wedges on a platter and serve hot, accompanied by the Mostarda di Cremona. Serves 4

Bresaola con Rucola e Parmigiano

Bresaola Topped with Arugula and Shaved Parmigiano

Bresaola is an air-dried, unsmoked beef specialty from the Valtellina area of Lombardy. It is typically served as an appetizer, drizzled with lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and shavings of Parmigiano. Some julienned arugula will only add to the visual appeal, as well as the flavor, of the dish.

  • 1/2 pound very thinly sliced Bresaola
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch arugula, washed and dried, stems removed, cut into long, thin strips
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved into long, thin shards with a vegetable peeler

Arrange the Bresaola in a single layer on each of 4 plates.

Drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil, sprinkle with the pepper, and top with the arugula. Garnish with the shaved Parmigiano. Serve immediately. Serves 4

Involtini di Prosciutto Cotto e Sedano di Verona Legati con Erba Cipollina

Mustard-Laced Celery Root and Ham Bundles Tied with Chives

Opt for an Italian Prosciutto Cotto (literally, "cooked ham"), rather than Prosciutto di Parma (an uncooked ham aged a minimum of 12 months), for this elegant appetizer. Serve with drinks at a holiday gathering or place on the buffet table and let guests help themselves.

  • 1 medium celery root, peeled, trimmed, and julienned
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 thin slices Prosciutto Cotto, halved width-wise
  • 24 chives

Toss the celery root, mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl; adjust the seasoning if needed. This can be done up to 12 hours ahead (refrigerate until needed).

Spread the slices of Prosciutto Cotto out in a single layer on a counter. Divide the celery root mixture evenly over the slices of Prosciutto Cotto and shape into a log along the bottom of each slice.

Roll the Prosciutto Cotto into tight scrolls, enclosing the celery root filling; tie each bundle with a chive for a prettier presentation. Arrange the bundles seam side down on a serving platter and refrigerate up to 1 hour. Makes 24 pieces

Barchette di Peperoni con Pancetta e Pecorino

Roasted Pepper Boats with Pancetta and Pecorino

You can use peppers of a single color if you prefer, but the presentation will be prettier with a variety. Avoid green peppers, which are less subtle than red, yellow, or orange ones. If Pancetta (unsmoked bacon) is not available, use bacon instead.

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing the baking sheet
  • 1 red pepper, halved, seeded, and cut into 8 long strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, halved, seeded, and cut into 8 long strips
  • 1 orange pepper, halved, seeded, and cut into 8 long strips
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • 12 thin slices Pancetta, halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Lightly oil an 11-inch x 17-inch baking sheet. Arrange the pepper strips on it with the skin side facing down. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the Pecorino, and top with the Pancetta. Season with the pepper.

Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the peppers soften and the Pancetta becomes lightly brown; do not allow the Pancetta to burn or the dish will taste acrid. Serve hot. Serves 4

Cured Meats Table

The list below includes both widespread and little-known Italian cured meats. Many of the more obscure cured meats are available only within their zone of production; others have become staples across Italy and the world. Unfortunately, FDA regulations do not allow most of these cured meats to enter North America: only a handful of imported salumi are sold here (Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto di San Daniele, Prosciutto di Carpegna, Prosciutto Cotto, Mortadella, and Bresaola). The others are either produced domestically (and therefore taste quite different from the original) or can only be sampled on their native soil. I offer you the exhaustive list below so that, on future trips to Italy, you will know what to sample in each region in the salumerie, in the trattorie, and, should you be so lucky, in people's homes.

Index A-B | C-E | F-K | L-O | P-R | S | T-Z
Cured Meat
Region(s)
Meat(s)
Characteristics
Baldonazzi
Trentino-
Alto Adige
Pork
Sweet-and-sour blood sausage featuring chestnut flour, walnuts, raisins, lard, and nutmeg.
Bale d'Aso
Piedmont
Pork
Delicate boiling sausage.
Biroldo or Buristo or Sanguinaccio
Tuscany
Pork
Sweet blood pudding with pine nuts, spices, and (sometimes) raisins.
Bisecon
Piedmont
Pork
A cross between head cheese and sausage.
Bocconcini di Daino
Umbria
Buck
Mildly gamy tiny sausages.
Bondiola
The Veneto
Pork
Sausages best boiled slowly.
Bondiola Affumicata
The Veneto
Pork
Smoked sausage.
Bondiola d'Adria
The Veneto
Pork and veal
Pork and veal sausage with red wine, aged at least 4 months.
Bondiola di Treviso
The Veneto
Pork
Both lean and fatty parts of the pig, including the rind and head, as well as a piece of salted tongue, are used to make this sausage.
Boudin
Val d'Aosta
Pork
A blood sausage flavored with mashed potatoes or boiled beets, lard, and spices; boiled, then sliced and baked with potatoes and butter.
Bresaola
Lombardy
Beef or horse
Made in the Valtellina from prized cuts of beef (or, more rarely, horse) which are salted and spiced, then hung to dry; sometimes smoked.
Bresaola dell'Ossola
Piedmont
Veal
Bresaola flavored with white wine, cinnamon, cloves, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and sugar.
Bresaola di Cervo
Friuli-
Venezia Giulia
Venison
Intensely red Bresaola, firm and slightly sweet.
Budellaccio di Norcia
Umbria
Pork
Sausage flavored with salt, pepper, and fennel seeds, dried by the hearth and grilled.
Cacciatori or Bastardelli
Lombardy
Pork and beef
Salami made from pork and Bresaola trimmings.
Cacciatorino
Piedmont
Pork
The Little Hunter's Sausage; small salami created for hunters who needed a quick energy fix on the hunt.
Capocollo
Basilicata/Apulia/
Umbria/Calabria
Pork
Pork shoulder and neck stuffed into pork bladder, amply spiced; sometimes smoked or conserved in olive oil or flavored with cooked wine.
Cappello da Prete
Emilia-Romagna
Pork
Pork forcemeat enclosed in pork rind, boiled before serving.
Carne di Melezet
Piedmont
Veal
Salted chunks of meat; conserved for months in a savory brine.
Carne Salada
Trentino-
Alto Adige
Beef
"Salted Meat," made by marinating beef in a salt brine with pepper, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, juniper berries, and white wine for 20 days.
Cervellata Calabrese
Calabria
Pork
Sausage flavored with white wine and chili.
Cervellata Pugliese
Apulia
Pork with the possible addition of veal
Sausage made of pork, or pork and veal; flavored with cooked wine and fennel seeds, often grilled.
Cervellatina
Campania
Pork
Salami made from lean and fat meat, cut with a knife and spiced with chili.
Ciauscolo or Ciavuscolo
Umbria/
The Marches
Pork
A soft, spreadable pâté-like smoked pork sausage, often spiked with garlic and vino cotto.
Coiga
Trentino-
Alto Adige
Pork
Smoked sausage featuring the lowly but economical turnip.
Coppa
Emilia-Romagna
Pork
A specialty of Piacenza, made from the top part of the pig's neck, which is dry-salted, spiced, stuffed into casings, air-dried, and aged for 6 months.
Coppa di Ascoli Piceno
The Marches
Pork
Boiled salami made from humble parts of the pig, spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, studded with pistachios.
Coppa Umbra
Umbria
Pork
A head cheese flavored with orange zest.
Coppiette
Tuscany
Boar or beef
Dried salami-like bars of wild boar or beef from the Maremma.
Coppiette Ciociare
Latium
Pork
Initially made of horse and now of pork, these strips of spiced and seasoned meat are sold coupled, hanging from a string.
Corallina di Norcia
Umbria
Pork
A salami of finely ground pork mixed with cubes of pork fat, scented with garlic, sometimes smoked over juniper wood and aged up to 5 months.
Cotechino
Lombardy/
Emilia-Romagna
Pork
Cremona's famous pork sausage, typically boiled and served with lentils to ring in the New Year; artisanal producers still flavor the forcemeat with vanilla. This rich sausage needs to be slowly simmered for hours.
Cotechino di San Leo
The Marches
Pork
Made according to a secret recipe, this thick boiled sausage is generously seasoned with cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper.
Cotecotto
Lombardy
Beef and pork
Sausage from the Valtellina;, best poached in the water used for boiling chestnuts.
Culatello di Zibello
Emilia-Romagna
Pork
Made from the most prized portion of the ham, the "heart of Prosciutto," pear-shaped Culatello is rubbed with wine and pepper, aged in well-ventilated rooms for 10 months to 1 year, and delicate in flavor.
Fegato Dolce
Abruzzo
Pork
Pork liver in casings; flavored with honey.
Fegato Pazzo
Abruzzo
Pork
Pork liver in casings; flavored with chili.
Fiaschetta Aquilana
Abruzzo
Pork
Smoked salami.
Filetto Baciato
Piedmont
Pork
"The Kissed Filet," a soft salami wrapped around a cured pork filet.
Finocchiona
Tuscany
Pork
An imposing salami spiced with wild fennel seeds (finocchio selvatico in Italian), aged 6 months to 1 year.
Fiocco di Daino
Umbria
Buck
Intensely red and mildly gamy cured buck tenderloins.
Guanciale
Latium
Pork
The meat from the cheek and throat of a pig is salted, rubbed with pepper, and aged; less fatty than Pancetta, which is made from the belly of a pig, it is cooked in pasta sauces, with vegetables, and more.
Kaminwürz
Trentino-
Alto Adige
Beef and pork
Sausage slowly smoked over the fireplace in homes.
Lardo
Trentino-
Alto Adige
Pork
Smoked, salted, or spiced lard, eaten as an antipasto.
Lardo di Cavour
Piedmont
Pork
Subtle lard, especially delicious when perfumed with rosemary.
Lardo di Colonnata
Tuscany
Pork
Lard aged near marble quarries in the town of Colonnata, placed in a salt brine in marble tubs after being rubbed with spices. Eaten raw on bread and focaccia.
Lardo di Saint Arnad
Val d'Aosta
Pork
A creamy, pearl-colored lard from the town of Saint Arnad; best eaten thinly sliced with whole wheat bread slathered with mountain honey.
Lonza
Abruzzo
Pork
Sausage from the shoulder and neck of the pig; spiced, salted, and hung to dry, aged for a minimum of 2 months. Called Capocollo elsewhere.
Lucanica
Basilicata
Pork
Sausage praised by Cicero and Martial in the days of ancient Rome, flavored with sweet and spicy pepper, fennel seeds, and black pepper; eaten grilled or roasted, or raw if smoked.
Luganega
The Veneto
Pork with the possible addition of chicken livers
Treviso's famed pork sausage, whose recipe was codified in 1300. Some is made with pounded Pancetta and a mixture of pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, mace, and coriander; another is enriched with chicken livers.
Luganiga
Lombardy
Pork
Monza's vanilla-laced sausage.
Marcundela
Friuli-
Venezia Giulia
Pork
Sausage made from the innards, spleen, and fat of the pig; sliced and fried in butter, it is served alongside pasta or frittatas.
Marzapane
Piedmont
Pork
Oddly named garlic- and wine-laced blood sausage made near Novara.
Mazzafegato
Umbria/
The Marches
Pork
Liver sausage; flavored with orange zest, pine nuts, raisins, and sugar when sweet. A must on Carnevale tables.
Mocetta or Motzetta
Val d'Aosta
Goat, chamois, or beef
Salted and aged boneless leg of goat, chamois, or beef; it was once made with wild mountain goats, but they have become a protected species. Similar to Bresaola.
Mortadella di Bologna
Emilia-Romagna
Pork
The real "baloney, whose recipe was developed during the Middle Ages. The real Bolognese version calls only for pork; pistachios, garlic, or truffles are sometimes added for flavor.
Mortadella di Campotosto
Abruzzo
Pork
Finely ground sausage threaded with a wide strip of lard; also called Coglioni di Mulo ("Mule's Balls").
Mortadella di Fegato
Lombardy
Pork
Fatty sausage featuring liver.
Mortadella di Fegato or Mortadella d'Orta or Fidighin
Piedmont
Pork and beef
Sausage featuring pork liver, beef or pork, and white wine or reduced Barbera wine; smoked or unsmoked, meant for boiling.
Mortadella Nostrale
Tuscany
Pork
Sausage spiced with black pepper; aged a little over 1 month.
Mortadella Umbra
Umbria
Pork
From the Val di Nera; like the Mortadella of Abruzzo, it is threaded with a single large strip of lard.
Mortadellina Amatriciana
Latium
Pork
Sausages of finely ground pork threaded with a thick strip of lard; smoked and aged up to 3 months.
Mortandela
Trentino-
Alto Adige
Pork
Minced pork sausage that finds its most elaborate expression in Val di Sole, where it is sprinkled with cornmeal, pressed, and smoked over beechwood and aromatic herbs.
Mostardella
Liguria
Pork
Savory salami best eaten in thick slices; good grilled.
Mulette
Molise
Pork
Molise's version of Capocollo or Coppa, spiced with chili rather than black pepper.
Musetto
Friuli-
Venezia Giulia
Pork
Sausage reminiscent of Cotechino, made from lean and fatty pork meat and usually boiled and eaten with brovade.
'Nduja
Calabria
Pork
Pork meat, lard, liver, and lights are ground together and stuffed into pig's bowels, then spiced with chili and aged up to 1 year; eaten as an antipasto, spread on bread, and incorporated in pasta sauces.
Pampanella di San Martino
Molise
Pork
Small pork chops coated with a chili pepper and garlic paste, roasted, then rubbed with salt and vinegar.
Pancetta or Rigatino
Across Italy
Pork
Fatty meat from the pig's belly, shaped in rectangles or coiled. Essentially it is unsmoked bacon; it is served raw as an antipasto or cooked in numerous dishes.
Pettucce
Friuli-
Venezia Giulia
Pork
Meatballs from the Alta Carnia, macerated with juniper and other mountain herbs, rolled in cornmeal, smoked, and aged.
Porchetta di Ariccia
Latium
Pork
Spit-roasted pork flavored with garlic, pepper, and wild fennel.
Probusto
Trentino-
Alto Adige
Pork and veal
The Italian version of Germany's Frankfurterwürstel, a pork and veal sausage that is stuffed into a mutton casing and smoked over birchwood.
Prosciutto Affumicato
Molise
Pork
Smoked hams rubbed with wine and chili.
Prosciutto Berico-Euganeo
The Veneto
Pork
Pig thighs are salted, pressed lightly, and aged to yield a slightly compact ham.
Prosciutto Cotto
Lombardy
Pork
Baked ham; large thighs are deboned, then cured in a salt brine, massaged, baked, and marketed without curing.
Prosciutto Cotto nel Pane
Friuli-
Venezia Giulia
Pork
Gorizia's ham is wrapped in bread dough and baked until the crust is golden and crisp, then eaten warm or hot, with grated horseradish at Easter.
Prosciutto di Bardotto
Tuscany
Pork
Made from the thigh of a "hybrid" pig (born from the union of a sow and a wild boar); the meat is as flavorful as its father's, and as moist as its mother's, yielding especially succulent hams.
Prosciutto di Basciano
Abruzzo
Pork
Ham that benefits from the fresh mountain breeze of the Gran Sasso; flavored with chili and aged 1 year.
Prosciutto di Bassiano
Latium
Pork
Ham rubbed with a mixture of white wine, garlic, and pepper, aged at least 1 year.
Prosciutto di Bosses
Val d'Aosta
Pork
A ham produced in a small village by the same name on an artisanal level.
Prosciutto di Carpegna
The Marches
Pork
Ham made in the town of Carpegna since the days of ancient Rome; deep pink, with a delicate, sweet flavor, it is salted and aged 14 months.
Prosciutto di Cinghiale
Latium/
Tuscany
Wild boar
An intensely flavorful ham made usually sold with the bristle still on and the hoof still intact.
Prosciutto di Daino
Umbria
Buck
Ham made from buck thighs.
Prosciutto di Guarcino
Latium
Pork
Hams flavored with red wine, lard, chili, and spices; aged up to 16 months.
Prosciutto di Modena
Emilia-Romagna
Pork
Aged near Modena, this pear-shaped ham is salted twice, allowed to rest with its salt rub for 2 months, then rinsed, dried, and aged for 1 year; it has a subtle, barely salty flavor.
Prosciutto di Montefalcone
Campania
Pork
Smoked, chili-laced ham from a mountain village in Alto Sannio.
Prosciutto di Norcia
Umbria
Pork
The most characteristic Umbrian cured meat; large pear-shaped ham, rosy or red, slightly spicy, subjected to a salt cure for 2 to 5 months and then aged a minimum of 1 year.
Prosciutto di Ossola
Piedmont
Pork
Salted ham flavored with aromatic herbs.
Prosciutto di Parma
Emilia-Romagna
Pork
This ham is the ultimate symbol of its region's gastronomy. Round in shape, it is salty yet delicately sweet and aged from 10 to 12 months.
Prosciutto di San Daniele
Friuli-
Venezia Giulia
Pork
The rosy and sweet ham of San Daniele is aged from 15 to 18 months; it is sweeter than the ham from Parma, and is easily recognizable since it is worked with the hoof still attached.
Prosciutto di Sauris
Friuli-
Venezia Giulia
Pork
Smoked ham from the village of Sauris in the Alta Carnia, produced at an altitude of 4,000 feet; aged from 12 to 18 months.
Prosciutto di Val Vigezzo
Piedmont
Pork
Ham aged 40 days, smoked over juniper wood.
Prosciutto Lucano
Basilicata
Pork
Ham made from small pigs raised in the mountains; cured artisanally, spiced with chili, and aged 15 months.
Prosciutto Romano
Latium
Pork
Ham from the province of Rome.
Prosciutto Toscano
Tuscany
Pork
Tuscan ham, smaller and saltier than that from Parma and San Daniele; best cut by hand with a sharp knife.
Rindgeselchtes
Trentino-
Alto Adige
Beef
Smoked beef, most often served thinly sliced as an antipasto or as part of a Bollito Misto.
Salama da Sugo
Emilia-Romagna
Pork
A specialty of Ferrara made with pork meat, tongue, head, liver, cloves, cinnamon, red wine, and brandy, Marsala, or rum; it becomes almost creamy and releases a rich ragù-like sauce when pierced as it cooks.
Salame Brianzolo
Lombardy
Pork
Spiced pork salami.
Salame d'Asino
Piedmont
Donkey
Donkey meat salami.
Salame del Montefeltro
The Marches
Pork
Salami made from the meat of black pigs, spiced with whole black peppercorns.
Salame della Duja
Piedmont
Pork
Salami named after the glass vase in which the it is layered with pork fat to protect it from humidity and to age.
Salame di Cinghiale
Umbria
Wild boar
Salami made from the wild boars that roam Umbria's woods.
Salame di Cremona
Lombardy
Pork
Salami made from prized cuts of pork, belly fat, salt, crushed garlic, and red wine; aged 6 months.
Salame di Daino
Umbria
Buck
Subtly gamy buck salami.
Salame di Fabriano
The Marches
Pork
Salami featuring knife-cut (rather than ground) pork; aged from 2 to 5 months.
Salame di Felino
Emilia-Romagna
Pork
This salami features top-quality ground pork, Pancetta, ground black pepper, and white peppercorns; as it ages for 3 months, it becomes covered with its characteristic white mold.
Salame di Mantova
Lombardy
Pork
Salami made from coarsely ground or knife-cut pork shoulder and belly mixed with trimmings from Prosciutto-making and white wine; aged 3 months and perfect for the grill.
Salame di Pecora
Abruzzo
Sheep
Rare salami from Anversa degli Abruzzi; sweet and delicate.
Salame di Rape
Lombardy
Pork
Salami that includes pork fat, cooked cabbage, and turnips; a specialty of Livigno, where the altitude forbids anything but turnip cultivation.
Salame di Sant'Olcese
Liguria
Pork and beef
Subtle salami flavored with black pepper and garlic.
Salame di Varzi
Lombardy
Pork
Garlic-scented salami.
Salame d'Oca
Lombardy
Goose
Goose salami from Mortara, for eating raw or poaching.
Salame Genovese
Liguria
Pork and beef
Salami made from coarsely ground meat; spiked with white wine.
Salame Milano
Lombardy
Pork
Pork salami laced with cheese and saffron; aged 3 months.
Salame Napoli
Campania
Pork and veal
Smoked salami flavored with orange zest and garlic steeped in wine; sometimes conserved in olive oil or under ashes.
Salame Sant'Angelo
Sicily
Pork
Salami made from finely minced rather than ground top-quality pork meat; stuffed into natural bowels and hung to age.
Salame Toscano
Tuscany
Pork
Salami that is sometimes flavored with garlic.
Salsiccia
Calabria
Pork
Sausage, usually obtained from the shoulder, spiced with chili or red pepper, aged a minimum of 1 month, and braided.
Salsiccia Cruda di Bra
Piedmont
Veal
Spiced sausage, eaten raw, sautéed, or grilled.
Salsiccia di Castrato
Lombardy
Mutton
Rare sausage from the Valcamonica.
Salsiccia di Lecce
Apulia
Pork and beef
Sausage enriched with Pancetta (unsmoked bacon); flavored with white wine, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon zest.
Salsiccia di Monte San Biagio
Latium
Pork
Sausages sometimes conserved in olive oil.
Salsiccia di Polmone
Campania
Pork
Sausage made from pork lights, especially in Apice.
Salsiccia di Rionero
Molise
Pork
Fennel-flavored sausage conserved under a layer of fat.
Salsiccia Pezzente
Basilicata
Pork
Sausage made from minced pork scraps (head, cheek, lights, liver, and nerves), generously spiced and flavored with garlic; grilled and eaten on toasted bread, in soups, or over polenta.
Salsiccia Sarda
Sardinia
Pork
Sausage made from coarsely ground pork shoulder and belly; it is flavored with salt, pepper, and garlic, with the possible addition of chili and other spices, then stuffed into a casing, formed into a horseshoe shape, and aged at least 3 weeks. Sometimes smoked, it is grilled when fairly young or eaten raw when aged long enough.
Salsiccia Stufata
Molise
Pork
Cooked sausage that may include pork liver.
Sanguinacci
Sardinia
Pork
Pork blood sausage featuring sugar, raisins, herbs like thyme and mint, Pecorino, chopped boiled chard, and more. Often spread on pane carasau, because they are soft even after boiling.
Sanguinaccio di Lecce
Apulia
Pork
Blood and brain sausage; typically eaten boiled or grilled.
Sanguinati
Molise
Pork
Blood pudding scented with raisins, orange zest, parsley, chili, and garlic.
Scammarita
Latium
Pork
Loin flavored with garlic and pepper; tied like a salami and aged.
Scodeghini
Trentino-
Alto Adige
Pork
Humble salami that makes use of all the parts of the pig that couldn't be incorporated in other preparations, including the skin and cheeks.
Soppressa del Pasubio
The Veneto
Pork
Ground pork salami flavored with garlic steeped in red wine, aged 1 year; potatoes and chestnuts form the basis of the diet of pigs raised on the slopes of the Pasubio, so their meat acquires an unmistakable taste.
Soppressata
Molise/
Campania/
Basilicata/
Calabria
Pork
Salami from lean pork meat and pork fat (preferably from small black pigs). The meat is cut by knife rather than ground, then spiced, stuffed into casings, and pressed under a weight to obtain its characteristic flattened shape (hence the name). Traditionally hung near the hearth to age and acquire a delicate smoky aroma. Sometimes conserved in olive oil or lard; may contain pork blood or ground sweet peppers for a brighter red color.
Soppressata di Fabriano
The Marches
Pork
Salami made of finely ground lean meat and strips of lard;, dried over a fire 3 to 4 days.
Soppressata or Testa in Cassetta or Mallegato
Tuscany
Pork
Noble and humble cuts of pork, including the head and cartilage, are ground, spiced, stuffed into casings, and pressed under weights, then hung to age.
Spalla Cotta di San Secondo
Emilia-Romagna
Pork
The cured pork shoulder Giuseppe Verdi loved; aged from 2 to 3 months, smoked or unsmoked.
Speck
Trentino-
Alto Adige
Pork
Rosy smoked ham made from the best pig thighs which are dry-salted and aged from 5 to 6 months.
Speck Quadrato or Peze Enfumegade
Trentino-
Alto Adige
Pork
Square smoked ham made from the best parts of the back of the pig, which are hung to smoke over beech and juniper wood.
Strinù
Lombardy
Beef and pork
Sausage flavored with wine, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper; made in the Valcamonica.
Su Zurette
Sardinia
Lamb or sheep
Blood sausage flavored with mint and Pecorino. Often spread on pane carasau, because they are soft even after boiling.
Testa in Cassetta
Liguria
Pork
Delicately flavored, fatty head cheese.
Teutenne or Tetette or Tetin
Val d'Aosta
Beef
Salted cow udder flavored with sage and garlic, aged briefly.
Tzemesada or Mesada
Val d'Aosta
Beef
A fresh version of Mocetta, with a softer texture.
Ventricina Molisana
Abruzzo/
Molise
Pork
Spreadable pork sausage similar to Ciauscolo; flavored with chili.
Ventricina Vastese
Abruzzo
Pork
Pork salami spiced with chili and wild fennel; aged at least 3 months.
Violino
Lombardy
Sheep, goat, or chamois
This ham earned its name because of the way it is held against the shoulder as it is sliced.
Zampitti
Apulia
Pork, beef, and lamb
Long sausages made meat trimmings; often flavored with grated Pecorino or fennel seeds and best on the grill.
Zampone
Emilia-Romagna
Pork
Pork meat, head, and rind stuffed into the skin of the pig's hoof; a specialty of Modena.