No Phoney Baloney


As an American raised in the 50's I am more than familiar with Oscar Mayer baloney sandwiches. The lunch box staple. That dreaded mystery meat. On Wonder bread. With mayo. (insert GIANT "yuck" here from Giuseppe.) It only got interesting when our housekeeper thought us to make FRIED baloney sandwiches.

Enter Italian Mortadella ... a coincidence that its from Bologna? hmmmm .....

No doubt, like many Italian delicacies, it migrated to the US where it was unceremoniously dumbed-down by Mr. Mayer and repackaged in yellow plastic disks in the "cold cuts" section. As Seinfeld once opined: Head Cheese? Olive Loaf? Now this guy Mayer is making UP meats.

And so my first encounter with Mortadella in Italy was waived off. No THANK you.

Big mistake. It turns out I adore mortadella.

So, I was thrilled to see a small sign announcing the opening of "Mutadella" around the corner a few weeks ago... Murtadella being a play on words for the famous Murra (walls) of Lucca and Mortadella.

G and I ventured in for lunch this week and found ourselves in a wonderland of flavours: truffle, pistachio, hot pepper, pork rind, and a dozen other flavours just waiting to be sampled.

If you are in Lucca and would like to experience what Mr. Mayer only dreamed of - stop by Murtadella for a quick bite. They also carry an interesting selection of regional specialties. We tried, and liked a sparking wine called Charling.

And in case you were wondering ... there was indeed a fried mortadella sandwich on the menu! Funny, I never knew our housekeeper had been to Italy. Tell them Chef Giuseppe sent you.

GIUSEPPE'S
COOKING TIPS

#1 

Salt your pasta water "like the ocean"

 

#2

Reserve some pasta water from the pan as a natural thickener for your sauce.

 

#3

Remember: seafood pasta dishes never get cheese!