This particular type of sausage is an absolute must-have component of any Italian’s Christmas or New Year feast, traditionally sliced in rounds and served with mashed potatoes and lentils. PGI Cotechino Modena is often called the father of all salami because of the innovative ways it was originally preserved, namely inside the skin of the animal itself (the name cotechino derives from cotenna, meaning pork skin or rind).
Cotechino sausage is a type of charcuterie made from a mixture of minced pork meat (striated muscles, fat, skin and cotenna or cotica rind), seasoned with spices, wine and aromatic herbs, such as cloves, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon. Once these have all been blended together, the cotechino mixture is stuffed inside an intestine casing and is left to dry out or is cooked, depending on whether it will be sold fresh or pre-cooked.
This special sausage is made in an area that surrounds three regions, Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto, and so comprises numerous towns, most notable of which is undoubtedly Modena.
As for its popularity, the cotechino sausage’s reputation had already made it over the borders of the Emilia-Romagna region by the 19th century: this is documented in a message from the great composer Gioacchino Rossini to a Modena-based salami maker, in which he asked for “four Zamponi and four Cotechini, all of the utmost exquisite quality.”
With its even, compact texture, cotechino sausage lends itself well to traditional and modern dishes alike. In addition to organising the PGI Modena Zampone and Cotechino festival, the Consorzio Zampone e Cotechino Modena IGP consortium has gathered together a series of modern-day recipes to get you inspired to create new flavour combinations.