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Underfoot

Opinions on and Uses for Cottechino?

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Hello,

I recently bought a sausage I think is called cottechino without acquainting myself with it beforehand. I think I remember seeing somewhere that it is made with... pork trotters? That would concur with my first impression, which was that it smelled and tasted very porky, and not necessarily in a way I like.

- Is this sausage normally very porky, and is this caused by the pig trotters?

- Are there any recipes you recommend for this sausage that go well with/ mute its porky nature?

- What is this sausage usually purchased for?

Thanks for any help you can give to an annoyingly curious person. :biggrin:

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Hello,

I recently bought a sausage I think is called cottechino without acquainting myself with it beforehand. I think I remember seeing somewhere that it is made with... pork trotters? That would concur with my first impression, which was that it smelled and tasted very porky, and not necessarily in a way I like.

- Is this sausage normally very porky, and is this caused by the pig trotters?

- Are there any recipes you recommend for this sausage that go well with/ mute its porky nature?

- What is this sausage usually purchased for?

Thanks for any help you can give to an annoyingly curious person.  :biggrin:

And do you not like fish that tastes fishy? Italian food is considered good if it tastes like what it is. Thus a pork sausage is going to tasty porky. I assume you're talking about a good, fresh smell, not anything spoiled.

Cotechino (note spelling) contains pork rinds, information contained in the name (as in fagioli con le cotiche, beans and pork rinds). The reason you are thinking of trotters is that the same sausage meat can be stuffed into a trotter -- i.e., the trotter is used as casing -- and in this case it is called zampone (zampa being the trotter). Both are treated about the same, and both are native to Emilia.

I gather you don't have the precooked kind, in which case you would follow the directions for boiling in its bag. Otherwise, you simmer it in water for two or three hours and let it cool in its broth. I cook them at New Year's and every year need to be reminded whether you poke holes in it or wrap it in a cloth or what. The Volpetti store provides instructions with it and recommend wrapping it in paper (which they provide) and string, and I think you don't pierce, but others here, such as Diva, will surely know. It throws off an inordinate amount of fat and gelatin, so it's all a bit messy, but not prohibitively so.

Once boiled and somewhat cooled, it is sliced, about three eighths of an inch thick, and served with mashed potatoes or lentils. It's also a fixture of the Emilian bollito misto.


Maureen B. Fant
www.maureenbfant.com

www.elifanttours.com

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Hello,

I recently bought a sausage I think is called cottechino without acquainting myself with it beforehand. I think I remember seeing somewhere that it is made with... pork trotters? That would concur with my first impression, which was that it smelled and tasted very porky, and not necessarily in a way I like.

- Is this sausage normally very porky, and is this caused by the pig trotters?

- Are there any recipes you recommend for this sausage that go well with/ mute its porky nature?

- What is this sausage usually purchased for?

Thanks for any help you can give to an annoyingly curious person.  :biggrin:

And do you not like fish that tastes fishy? Italian food is considered good if it tastes like what it is. Thus a pork sausage is going to tasty porky. I assume you're talking about a good, fresh smell, not anything spoiled.

Cotechino (note spelling) contains pork rinds, information contained in the name (as in fagioli con le cotiche, beans and pork rinds). The reason you are thinking of trotters is that the same sausage meat can be stuffed into a trotter -- i.e., the trotter is used as casing -- and in this case it is called zampone (zampa being the trotter). Both are treated about the same, and both are native to Emilia.

I gather you don't have the precooked kind, in which case you would follow the directions for boiling in its bag. Otherwise, you simmer it in water for two or three hours and let it cool in its broth. I cook them at New Year's and every year need to be reminded whether you poke holes in it or wrap it in a cloth or what. The Volpetti store provides instructions with it and recommend wrapping it in paper (which they provide) and string, and I think you don't pierce, but others here, such as Diva, will surely know. It throws off an inordinate amount of fat and gelatin, so it's all a bit messy, but not prohibitively so.

Once boiled and somewhat cooled, it is sliced, about three eighths of an inch thick, and served with mashed potatoes or lentils. It's also a fixture of the Emilian bollito misto.

You forgot the mostarda.

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It is very rich and fatty!

It is sold in winter usually for new years celebrations as Maureen says,

with mashed potatoes or lentils.

It grows on you!

For me once a year is plenty!

And I love porky things!

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I was responding to the wrong message. Sorry.

In any case, Ed Giobbi has a delicious recipe for cotechino and lentils in his last book, Pleasures of the Good Earth. I sometimes make a big pot of it, and freeze some; great on cold winter nights. And you can cook broccoli rabe (or brocolini, for that matter) in it, at the end or when defrosted, and you have an entire meal.

And I've used cotechino in cassoulet. Not entirely comme il faut but delicious. Volpi, in Saint Louis, makes their own, and it's fun to go get it, and see (and taste) all the delicious things they have in their small fantastically well-stocked store.

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As Maureen said, cotechino is typically served on its own with lentils on New Year's. It can also be a component of bollito misto, cooked separately. It's also sometimes rolled into a flank steak and braised (I thinK) after pre-cooking. It also seems fashionable lately to grill it, or at least it is in America and Canada. Typical codiments help to cut the fatty flavor: salsa verde, mostarda, or balsamic vinegar.

It does grow on you but it is quite different than what you'd be expecting if you thought it was just a sausage. When served with beans, they compliment it well and tame some of the richness.

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On the trail of something else, I have discovered, ladies and gentlemen, the official cotechino web site, complete with adulatory doggerel. It's www.cotechino.it (of course). All in Italian.


Maureen B. Fant
www.maureenbfant.com

www.elifanttours.com

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One can use any sausage instead, if a particular sausage is too porky well... the leave it! an go for something better I'd say like Spanish fresh chorizo or something else.

You don't have to put up with fowl taste or develop special taste buds just because it is Italian. Besides Italian never been blessed with plentiful meats. Forget it! Eating porky sausages will not make nor it will make you Italian:)

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One can use any sausage instead, if a particular sausage is too porky well... the leave it! an go for something better I'd say like Spanish fresh chorizo or something else.

You don't have to put up with fowl taste or develop special taste buds just because it is Italian. Besides Italian never been blessed with plentiful meats. Forget it! Eating porky sausages will not make nor it will make you Italian:)

What did you mean "One can use any sausage instead." Use it for what?

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One can use any sausage instead, if a particular sausage is too porky well... the leave it! an go for something better I'd say like Spanish fresh chorizo or something else.

You don't have to put up with fowl taste or develop special taste buds just because it is Italian. Besides Italian never been blessed with plentiful meats. Forget it! Eating porky sausages will not make nor it will make you Italian:)

What did you mean "One can use any sausage instead." Use it for what?

The examples were given above there are plenty dishes that use sausages and pulses

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My Italian friend showed me how to make cotechino; when preparing pork for the grinder, simply save the skin and remove as much fat as possible. Pass the skin through the grinder and mix with the ground pork. Ratio of skin to meat mixture is a personal preference, but I like 50/50. Seasoning can also be varied, I use the same spice mix as with regular Italian sausages.

Stuff the mixture into casings and there you have it.

My friend said this had to be cooked for a long time and in a certain way. My favorite is to simply braise it in a tomato sauce. The flavors impart both ways into the sausage and into the sauce.

I've seen commercial cotechino which look considerably different than my homemade version - looks like you have to boil it in the bag.

Just my 2 cents.

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Cotechino is a magical food - I've made it a countless amount of times and it's always great.

One cool way to serve it is to use an additional piece of skin as the casing. In this method we've made triangular and square shaped pillows of Cotechino. Almost always we would use a touch of "special curing powder" to keep the color nice and pink rather then gray -

The casing traditionally is a crespone which is thicker then the casing used for sausage and can handle cooking. I've seen some people wrap them in cloth or old t-shirts and tie - in the restaurant, we would loosely vacuum seal them and place them into simmering water.

Served with a side of zabaglione - the contrast is great - alongside some super cheesy parmiggiano mashed potatoes!

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Cotechino is a magical food - I've made it a countless amount of times and it's always great.

Try also cooked, minced and mixed with mashed potatoes, Parmesan cheese and abundant nutmeg as unusual stuff for home-made ravioli!

Season with butter aromatised with black truffle and Madera or butter and fresh sage/thyme.


"Mi dispiace - esclamò un Italiano - che non sia peccato bere l'acqua: come sarebbe gustoso!" - "It's a shame -said an Italian- that drinking water isn't a sin: such a delight it should be!"

(G.C. Lichtenberg)

www.buongustotours.com

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