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Cotechino


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Folks,

having persuaded my SO to do the tortellini & bollito thing for Christmas (edgy, I know!), I am left wondering where to find a cotechino (or musetto) similar to what you'd get in Bologna (or Veneto, for musetto: slightly different grind, but the concept is the same).

A couple of years ago we went to a butcher in the italian market and I bought... something... which had about as much to do with cotechino as 'balsamic vinegar' is similar to 'aceto balsamico tradizionale' (I prefer Reggio to Modena, incidentally).

Any ideas? Pointers? Suggestions? Willing to travel if necessary.

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I don't remember seeing cotechino in markets around Philadelphia; if you don't get lucky, you might try asking in the New York forum. Alternatively, an off-the-wall suggestion: I believe Modo Mio has cotechino on their menu. You might ask them where they get theirs, if it's not house made.

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Thank you folks! Per professor Fenton's suggestion, I will have to go INVESTIGATE Modo Mio (hey, any excuse is good, right?) and I'll pass by croce... if not, it's off to NYC. I'm a bit puzzled by the New Year timeframe. Zampone.. I can sort of see, but cotechino for bollito is an all winter thing (actually, if you go http://www.ristoranteciccarelli.it/menu.html here it's fine in mid-july, too. Prior training necessary but generally eGulleteers are quite capable...).

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Cotecchino is a NYE/NYD tradition. You eat it with lentils to bring money in the new year. At least in some families. I assume some experts on Italian Tradition will tell you how wrong I am!

Edited by ambra (log)
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You know, as someone who was born and raised in Italy and who still spends six months out of the year on average there, I am pretty certain I have a good handle on what I'm talking about: while a lot of people eat cotechino on NYE/NYD, when incidentally they should be eating zampone, if they really wanted to be pedantic, I've had very many bolliti with cotechino (in Veneto and Friuli, musetto) in them all winter long - and by the by, even the tradition of zampone on NYE is relatively recent and only really indigenous to the northeast, starting from Emilia and sort of radiating north and east. This is sort of like saying that since one eats magro on Christmas eve, clearly one should only poach a branzino on the 24th of december, traditionally.

jmolinari, I did see your blog. The idea of making it myself did cross my mind, but I am not a butcher and I have little time to experiment. How difficult is it? The main problem I've seen in curing meats is avoiding air bubbles which cause oxidation where you don't want it.. and getting the cures right (though one could argue that cotechino doesn't really need a cure...). I already persuaded my GF to help me with Tortellin and I don't know how another cooking project would go over.

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Fabio, I wasn't trying to insinuate that you can't find it at many times of the year in some (for example, not really where I live- which is not the NE) parts of Italy. I guess I should have just said that the only thing that arrived in the US was the NYE tradition.

In any event, I was thinking if you can't find it in PA, you might try BUONITALIA (in NYC) as they do have a mail order service. They are quite expensive but they have a good selection of Italian imports. If not, let me know and I will let you know other stores to go to NYC. I've had it from a butcher (I had to special order it though) there and I've also had it from the box. The box was better!

If I were you, I'd try to make it! At least you'll know exactly what goes in it and can regulate the flavours as you want.

Good luck with the tortellini! They are soooo delicious homemade!! Should be fun too! When I lived in the US, we made them every year!!

Edited by ambra (log)
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I understand what you're saying, though I'm curious to know where in Italy you're from :). I'm surprised to note that the whole idea of bollito, as you say, has simply not made it over, which is surprising, but it is what it is (we had it at Vetri and it was ... not bad. They do not offer it any longer IIRC).

In any case! Thanks for the suggestion, buonitalia does have what look like 700-800gr cotechini which actually look raw. I have to wonder where they come from, but if they have Perbellini's panettone, I can hazard a guess or two.

I'll give them a call monday morning and investigate. Thanks for your help!

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We (my family, not my region) don't really make Bollito Misto (just brodo with one muscle cut and some bones) but it's also difficult to find on menus in my area, in fact, we always order it when we head north of here....I'm in the land of the Fiorentina? Chianina? Have you guessed yet?

In the US, I think the whole idea of boiled meat is trumped by Chicken Soup (essentially boiled chicken etc) and braised meats (as opposed to boiled meats). I think big steaks or even braised dishes like short ribs go alot farther on restaurant menus. It's just my opinion. I could be wrong. In fact, things could have changed since I lived there!

I live in Toscana by way of NYC. Right now, there are some beautiful Zamponi on sale at the local COOP! :cool:

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Jmolinari: makes a lot of sense, we'll try to source back skin then.

Ambra, now it makes a lot more sense! As to the US... chicken soup I understand, but it's a bit of a different animal. Then again, one might say that very little cooking from above Lazio has ever made it across, so I shouldn't be too surprised...

And yes, Venice also has some wonderful musetti at the COOP, but even if I were to fly over, they wouldn't let me take one back stateside (and I would NEVER attempt smuggling.. of course... never mind the curiously prosciutto shaped sweater that inhabited my suitcase a few months ago :) ).

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I get the real deal, available year round, at the Calabria Pork Store on Arthur Avenue in The Bronx. Got mine on Wednesday and the Italian lentils were available inside the old Mercato.

I like Batali's recipe with the red wine vinegar in the lentils, cuts the fattiness of the cotecchino.

Edited by Recoil Rob (log)

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.

- Errol Flynn

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Sorry for the late reply: if you're familiar with salame cotto.. that's what they are, effectively. There is almost no pigskin content so the texture is completely different. They also tasted like they spent some time in a smoker. The grind is also.. uneven and chunkier. So, very good with coarse dijon and mashed potatoes, but for the real deal, I'll go up to Budrio (GO) when I fly back. Or go to the store that Rob helpfully pointed out!

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  • 11 months later...

So I bought three cotechini from Faicco's on Bleecker, and have a question about cooking them.

The cotechini are in very thin plastic casings, and I've cooked them directly in that in previous years (after making numerous piercings into the plastic casing) but was wondering if i could instead remove the plastic casing and just wrap them properly in cheesecloth and cook them that way, or will I lose too much of the fat into the water, since they will have to cook a fairly long time

To anyone who knows, thanks

Edited by temesvari (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

The traditional item is in an intestine casing like salami or sausage. You're not supposed to pierce it and it will cook happily on its own, though you have to be careful because it may break leading to excessive loss of fat & collagen. The plastic casing makes me suppose that these are pre-cooked?

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