Italy Today

Pitina: a not known but precious resource of Italian cuisine

A unique dish typical from Friuli

Pitina: a not known but precious resource of Italian cuisine

Claudia Astarita

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Pitina is a hybrid between meatballs and delicatessen, therefore unique. Its taste is very intense and for this reason it was not always very appreciated. If Pitina is still there, thanks should be given to the few producers remained and to the Slow Food Foundation that put is under its protection.

Pitina was born in Friuli and it is typical of the city of Pordenone. Contrasting opinions rotate around its exact origin but one thing is sure, i.e. the inhabitants had to find a way to keep the little meat they had for a long time. It was not pork (very precious at that time and area) but Pitina was usually prepared with chamois, goat or sheep meats. Worth mentioning is that only old or sick sheep were used become the healthy ones were too precious and useful to produce milk and other diary products.

With regard to its production, Pitina is made by deboning the meat and grinding it in a wooden container called pestadora. The meat is then seasoned with local herbs and spices and then covered with corn flour, smoking it and let it aging for at least 30 days. It was possible to keep it for one whole year. Nevertheless, this intense taste given by a random combination of meats and by the use of herbs did not sit well with the fine modern palates and Pitina risked to vanish from Italian tables and shops. Slow Food Foundation has declared its protection over the product, promoting it not only within the traditional area but also outside.

It is possible to eat Pitina as a salami, but it is very nice also in its cooked versions. Some examples are barbequed Pitina, stir-fried with vinegar and polenta, Pitina with potatoes minestrone or Pitina Cao, cooked in fresh cow milk.

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