Cotechino Modena PGI is a stuffed charcuterie product made with a mixture of pork meats.
The production area of Cotechino Modena PGI is within the entire territory of the Emilia-Romagna region; the provinces of Cremona, Lodi, Pavia, Milan, Monza and Brianza, Varese, Como, Lecco, Bergamo, Brescia and Mantua in the Lombardy region; the provinces of Verona and Rovigo, in the Veneto region.
Cotechino Modena PGI is made from a mixture pig meat obtained from striated muscles, pork fat, rind, salt and whole or ground pepper. The preparation of Cotechino Modena PGI must be carried out by mincing with a meat grinder, with molds that have holes of a 7-10 mm diameter for the muscular fractions and 3-5 mm for the rind. All of the ingredients are mixed together in a vacuum or atmospheric pressure machine, after which the mixture is inserted into natural or artificial casings. When the product is sold fresh it must be dried in a hot air stove, whereas it can be pre-cooked in water if it is sold as a cooked product.
Appearance and Flavour
Cotechino Modena PGI has a cylindrical shape and is easy to slice. On cutting, the slices should be firm and tender, with uniform grain and a pinkish colour, characterised by redder sections. It has a characteristic flavour.
The origins of Cotechino Modena PGI date back to 1511, when the inhabitants of Mirandola, under siege by the army of Pope Julius II della Rovere, decided to slaughter the pigs in order to save them from the pillage, inserting the meat into casings and thereby creating Cotechino. The product was a great success and during the XVIII century it spread into neighbouring markets, also thanks to the increased production by Frigeri and Bellentani, two of the oldest charcuterie shops in the area.
Fresh Cotechino Modena PGI should be kept in the fridge, while the pre-cooked version can be conserved at room temperature for a longer period of time, as it is packaged in airtight containers that undergo heat treatment. Fresh Cotechino Modena PGI needs to be cooked for a long time before being consumed, whereas the pre-cooked version needs a much shorter cooking time, generally between 15 and 20 minutes. This product is traditionally available over the Christmas period and for New Year’s Eve. It is served in fairly thick slices together with lentils, stewed beans, mashed potatoes or spinach with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano PDO. It should ideally be paired with red sparkling wines, such as Lambrusco PDO wines from Modena.
The product is marketed as Cotechino Modena PGI. It is sold fresh, both wrapped or unpackaged, or pre-cooked, packaged in appropriate air-tight boxes. In both cases, it is sold whole with a weight which usually ranges from 400 g to 600 g.
Cotechino Modena PGI, obtained through processing the prime cuts of the pig, is an ancient food product that contains nutritional properties which are very much in line with today’s needs: it is rich in first class proteins, B group vitamins and minerals (mainly iron and zinc). Furthermore, despite common belief, it is low in calories, as part of the fat disperses during cooking.