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Salame Rosa – Mortadella’s Little Known Sister
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Salame Rosa – Mortadella’s Little Known Sister

Everybody knows mortadella, the famous Italian sausage from Bologna. Last year I even tried to make it myself. When I was in Bologna last year I discovered a sausage that is related to mortadella but almost unknown outside Italy: Salame rosa.


While classic mortadella consists of a finely ground sausage paste sprinkled with fat cubes, salame rosa features chunks of meat and fat with only a very small amount of sausage paste to bind everything together. Both mortadella and salame rosa are cooked the same way: in an oven at a very low temperature for many hours.

I used:

  • 1000 g lean pork from the leg
  • 700 + 300 g marbled pork from the neck (the “coppa muscle”)
  • 250 + 50 g back fat
  • 20 g German nitrite curing salt with 0.5% nitrite content per kg
  • 2 g ground white pepper per kg
  • 1/2 garlic clove per kg
  • Beef bung as casing

The choice of meat is not too crucial. Traditionally, pork shoulder is used but these were the cuts I had at hand at the moment. Also the ratio of meat to fat can be varied.


The day before cut the meat into small pieces (1 to 2 cm) but reserve a small amount for the sausage paste. In this case I cut 1700 g and reserved 300 g. Weigh the meat and season it with curing salt and pepper. Mix well and leave in the fridge for 24 hours to pre-cure.

The next day, preheat the oven to 75 degrees using a thermometer. Soak the sausage casing in warm water for at least an hour. Cut most of the back fat into cubes of slightly smaller size than the meat pieces. Again, reserve a small amount for the sausage paste. Bring water to a boil in a small pot and blanche the fat cubes for a few minutes, then strain them.

Grind the remaining meat and fat with 2 mm plate of your meat grinder. Combine pre-cured meat, sausage paste and fat cubes in a large bowl and weigh again. Top up curing salt and pepper according to the total weight and add the pressed garlic.

Make sure everything is very cold, then mix thoroughly for several minutes until the mixture is very sticky. Stuff the casing as tightly as possible and tie off at the end. Stick a meat thermometer into the centre of the sausage and bake in the oven until the internal temperature is 70 degrees. This can last six hours or even longer, so make sure you have enough time. Let the sausage come to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight.


My sausage looked very nice in the cross section but was not perfectly sliceable. Probably I did not mix long enough, so make sure you do this really thoroughly.

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