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The rebirth of cooked ham – Italian Cuisine

Cooked ham lives a new youth: artisanal, gourmet and true connoisseurs. Only from whole thighs, Italian and salted in the vein, by hand. Without foreign carcasses assembled by machine and seasoned with additives

The baked ham it is the most eaten salami in the world, and in Italy we have not been less for about 2,000 years, that is since when the Romans boiled pork legs with laurel and dried figs. It was a luxury food, present on the Renaissance tables of the Gonzaga and Sforza, but has until now become a mass product, younger brother and mistakenly a little mistreated compared to other meats.
"Although most people are convinced otherwise, making a cooked ham is much more difficult than making it raw, because cooking is a difficult process to manage," explains Fabio Benvenuti, Category Manager Salami and Cheeses from Eataly. "For many years, cooked ham has been a product on which little culture has been made, on which the industries have invested a great deal and which risked to be forgotten in its original, artisanal appearance. That's why we decided to bring it back to the center of the salami counter and to support producers who work with their own hands cooked hams of High Quality".

The raw product we choose, in front of the terracotta counter instead we end up choosing according to price (or advertising), thinking that basically all are the same. Wrong, the differences are many and orientation in the choice is not easy. "There difference between a craft and an industrial product is very clear, to the taste and in the processing – Fabio continues – A product like the ones we have at Eataly is made only from whole legs of pork, and contains little water. The uneven color and the drier consistency often do not like at first sight because we are used to eating mass-market products, different in appearance and consistency. But this is also our mission, to make people change their minds and let them discover genuine products, and fortunately it's just a taste! ".

All the products that are found by Eataly come only from pigs born, reared and slaughtered in Italy

A ham, many thighs
The denomination "cooked ham" is by law the one used for a "product of delicatessen obtained from the leg of pork, if cut or boned, defatted, deprived of tendons and rind, with use of water, salt, nitrites". To do this you use pork conscripts, both Italian and from abroad. Those of foreign origin have a fat / lean ratio different from the homegrown ones, they differ for meat of color more "load", tending to red and for the initial size, smaller than the national ones.
To make the cooked ham, the thighs are boned, manually or by a machine, trimmed to remove excess fat and ligaments. This applies to the highest quality products, however, because for the less valuable products you can also use mixed parts of thighs from carcasses of different animals. "We can say that the first difference between a good product and a low quality industrial one is seen above all thanks to the color. If the color is a a mix of more or less intense pinks, it is a value, means that you can see the muscle bands, then you have used a whole thigh "explains Fabio, to teach us to recognize a good product at first glance.

Fire, salt and cold
Cooked ham is a cured meat, but it is not a sausage and its preservation is entrusted first of all to cooking, then to salt and cold. For this reason, the ham is subjected in large companies to mechanical injections of brine and to the so-called churning, a massage that aims to soften the meat and distribute capillary salt and flavorings. So the big sausage factories work now, because the brine is hand-injected by hand, using the natural venous system of the animal. The salting is then kind, as you can feel at the first bite in a cooked ham like that of Salumi Pernigotti, produced by a small family business for four generations.

Fit, or tied
Once the meat has been prepared, they follow the molding and pressing phases in special shapes, different from producer to producer, and to better adapt to the different types of raw material and to the different processes used. Large companies work with aluminum shapes, small craft producers instead they still tie the ham by hand, as the Branchi brothers do in their ham factory in Felino, in the province of Parma, the first to have started working in this area after the war. Finally, cooking in a steam oven at a temperature of about 75 ° C – 85 ° C for hours, even up to 20, depending on the size of the ham.

Only High Quality
Cooked ham is divided into different categories, determined by the production methods and the water content. Cooked Ham has higher humidity and can be obtained from recomposed portions of different pigs, while the Cooked Cooked Ham must show the main muscles of the whole leg. The High Quality Cooked Ham in addition to the well visible muscles can be produced with a limited number of ingredients and additives, admitted instead for the other two quality categories and must have a moisture content lower than or equal to 75.5%; therefore not to milk, soy, starch and polyphosphates proteins.
However, this subdivision does not include the origin of the meat, if the raw material is processed fresh or frozen, if the processing is done by hand or by machine … All the products that are found by Eataly come only from pigs born, reared and slaughtered in Italy. Of the three categories, the high quality cooked hams are found in the Eatalysolo delicatessen counter, that is, produced from whole thighs without additives, polyphosphates and only with natural aromas.

Smoke and honey
Italy is the nation of 1,000 bell towers and 666 meats, as many are counted to date from North to South. All different, by type of meat used and by method of conservation: where the climate is cold, and throughout the Northern Europe, smoking (coupled with drying) is the prevailing preservation method, in fact it is typical of Friuli to be smoked cooked ham with beech wood from Salumificio Sfreddo.
Where the climate is warm and humid, nature is used in another way, using salt and spices, as happens in the Marche in the Salumificio Bracalini in the province of Fermo, which cooks it roasted with aromatic herbs. In Borgonovo Val Tidone, Piacenza, Capitelli works it just as the ancient Romans did, and using honey instead of sugar, for a soft and delicate result.

Crêpes ham and pistachio sweets – Italian Cuisine

In a bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt.
Separately add the milk and flour, then add the beaten eggs.
Mix the ingredients.
1 crepes dough

Then get a smooth and homogeneous batter.
Cover it with food foil and transfer it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
In doing so, the flour will release all its starch.
2 dough crepes

After this time, melt a knob of butter in a crepe maker.
Mix the batter and, with a ladle at a time, cook each crêpe for about a minute to the side.
As the crêpes are imprints, stack them on a flat plate.
3 cook crepes

Once ready, place them on aluminum paper, overlapping them slightly.
Cover the surface with a little béchamel, ham, cheese and chopped pistachios.
4 fill with speck

Roll the crêpes gently onto themselves, forming a sausage.
Then cut it into thick washers.
6 roll up the crepes

Put a little 'béchamel sauce on the bottom of a pan and arrange the crêpes swirls, close but not overlapped.
Cover with the remaining béchamel sauce and sprinkle with the pistachios grain.
Bake at 180 ° C for about 20 minutes and then let it cool slightly.
7 cook in the oven

Your crêpes sweets ham and pistachios are ready to be brought to the table.
Pistachio crepes crepe sweetsSweets of crepes speck-pistachios

Stelline potatoes with pumpkin cream, crumbs of raw ham and half-moon of zucchini – Italian Cuisine

A galaxy of stars on the plate and the moment of the meal turns into a magical adventure!

How many times have we thought, to involve and stimulate the little ones there is a need for imagination, especially at the table. Here then a great classic like a dish made of potato gnocchi and vegetable dressing is transformed, with simplicity, into an original and tasty recipe. The ace up his sleeve? The Potato Stelline Disney Mickey Mouse from Patarò, soft and tasty small potato dumplings in the shape of small stars designed to make your recipes fun and tasty, and make children happy.

How to prepare potato starlets with pumpkin cream, raw ham crumbs and zucchini half-moons

Quantity: 4 people
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy


400 g of Stelline potatoes Disney Mickey Mouse Patarò
300 g of pumpkin
half a liter of vegetable stock
30 g of raw ham
a shallot
100 g of courgette
2 sage leaves
extra virgin olive oil


Peel the pumpkin, peel it, remove the seeds and reduce to cubes. Then peel the shallot, cut into slices and let it stew gently in a saucepan with 3 tablespoons of oil.

After a few minutes, add the diced pumpkin and sage leaves and leave to flavor for 2-3 minutes. Then pour the boiling broth (brought to a boil in a separate pot) and continue cooking with the casserole partially covered for 15 minutes until the pumpkin has become soft.

At this point, remove the pan from the heat and blend the mixture with an immersion mixer. Season with salt and add a pinch of grated nutmeg.

In the meantime the pumpkin is cooking, toast the raw ham in a non-stick pan with a few drops of oil until it becomes crispy. At this point remove it from the heat and dry it with paper towel and then blend it in a small mixer until it is powdered.
Wash and dry the courgette, remove the peel with 2 mm of pulp and make small half-moons with a special coppapasta.

Separately, cook the potato starch in boiling salted water for a minute since they come to the surface, drain them and place them in the plates above the pumpkin cream. Add the courgette crescents and sprinkle with the ham powder.
Add a few drops of oil to taste and serve.

Enjoy your meal, for adults and children!