Here’s a punchy list of some of our favourites!
Italy boasts some of the most flavoursome cuts of meat internationally thanks to the specialist ways of curing and seasoning foods across the country. There seems to be a national obsession with pork, forming the base ingredient for a lot of Italian dishes. We’ve broken down some of the best to include to spice up (in some cases, literally) your home cooking!
Capicola/Coppa – Is usually seasoned with hot pepper flakes, salt and garlic and is a highly aromatic meat. Like many other Italian meats, it has a marbled appearance and a rich, bold flavour. ‘Capo’ translates to ‘head’ in English, and this meat is most commonly made from the neck or the shoulder of the pig.
Prosciutto – There are two styles of prosciutto: uncooked prosciutto crudo or cooked prosciutto cotto. Moisture loss causes the ham to lose more than a quarter of its weight. This leads to concentration in flavour whilst the meat also becomes more tender.
Salami Cacciatore - Italian small dry sausage. Cured with the usual spices, wine, and herbs. Cacciatore tends to be a bit tougher than Capicola or Prosciutto and is made from ground pork as opposed to slices. Folklore states that hunters would snack on pieces of this meat throughout hunting sessions to maintain energy levels.
Pancetta - Salt cured and spiced salumi made from pork belly, found sliced but more commonly cubed for cooking. Pancetta can be sautéed with onions and garlic to form the base of many dishes from soups to risotto and is a popular alternative to bacon.
Soppressata – This meat has a consistency similar to sausage. It is made using the best cuts of pork meat including the loin, shoulder, leg, the ‘coppa’ being meat from back of the neck. The meat comes in many shapes and flavours, seasoned with a variety of aromas and spices. Calabrian variations are spicy, whereas others are flavoured more subtly with herbs such as rosemary.