Wednesday, June 20, 2007

In Search of Cudighi

This has been a bit of a quest! A few months back we were given some cudighi. I tucked it in the freezer and didn't really think about it again until recently. I just didn't know what to do with it, and to add to not knowing what cudighi tastes like, ours was made from wild boar. Now we know and love wild boar, so every scrap of the stuff that we can get our hands on we treat as best as possible. Then the other night, the kids asked for spaghetti with meat sauce for dinner, and not having any ground meat for the sauce, I thawed the cudighi. As I was browning it, it smelled remarkably like pepperoni, and I was looking forward to tasting it.

The flavor is unlike any other sausage I've ever tried. It did taste a little like pepperoni, but I also tasted all-spice and fennel seeds. And as it turns out, I'm not that far off the mark.

Cudighi is a sausage found only in two parts of the world- one small part of Italy, and one small part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. And finding a recipe is just as difficult as finding the sausage. I found two recipes that are very different, but I think by using both recipes as a guide, I could recreate the cudighi we had. Here is the first one, which looks close, but doesn't have the fennel seeds or crushed red pepper flakes that our sausage had. It also has more cinnamon than ours did- as the cinnamon was not noticeable at all.


1 (6 pound) pork butt
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 to 1 cup dry red wine
6 garlic cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 clove

Have the pork coarse ground and DO NOT have fat trimmed (you want about 25% fat). Put through the meat grinder TWICE.

Mix the following ingredients together: salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Work into ground pork with your hands.

Combine wine, cinnamon sticks, garlic and cloves. Boil this mixture for 5 minutes and let completely cool.

Strain this mixture, reserving the liquid and work the liquid into the meat.

Let meat season in refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Then there is this recipe, which looks more like the one we had, but is very different, and might not have the depth of flavor the sausage we were given had. If anyone has any insight into this treasures sausage, I would love to hear it. The sausage is delicious, and worked really well in a pasta sauce, and equally well on last nights oyster mushroom and cudighi pizza.


6 lb coarsely ground pork(pork butt recommended)
1 clove garlic chopped fine
1 T. Crushed red pepper
6 T. Salt
1-2 T. fennel seed

Mix well and keep in the fridge for 24 hours.

Form into thin, to about 1/2 thick patties into oblong shape or depending on the type of Roll you will serve it in.. can be squared shape if desired. Brown in oil , cover and simmer fry, but not crispy brown, use just a little water(optional) to simmer to help with the dryness, for 25-30 minutes or until no red shows and pork is fully cooked.

Serve on fancy Deli roll type bun, such as hard roll, Kaiser roll etc.

Things to compliment this is combinations of grilled green pepper rings and grilled sliced onion, mustard, catsup, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, whatever combination you desire and to your liking. My favorite is with a little mustard, the grilled green pepper and onion.

this recipe makes a lot of patties so cut recipe by half
or make-up patties and partially cook,cool, then freeze patties for quick sandwich's later.

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