Most agrarian-based economies in regions of Italy, Hungary, Argentina, China, America, France and Spain, not only feature pork in their cuisines, but make a celebration of it! Mortadella, quite a rotund finely-textured, rosy-pink cooked sausage, is one of the culinary symbols of Bologna. With its history dating back to the 16th-century, mortadella appears on the table as a centerpiece for meals, and is an essential filling ingredient for another of Bologna's famous culinary symbols, tortellini.
Often dry-cured sausages and ham compose a platter, along with local produce or cheese. In Bolognese restaurants, we serve thin slices of mortadella studded with pistachios and various salumi as an antipasto platter before the meal. Makes a great lunch, too!
These cured sausages are ideal for making panini or sandwiches, too. Isn't it gratifying to watch one of your favorite dishes become more popular as it travels around the world served in caffe bars and restaurants? For a few years now, the rolled sandwich, called "wrap" in some countries, is satisfying many people with more healthful eating, a reduced quantity of meat and not a smear of mayo or thousand-island dressing in sight! In Emilia-Romagna, we've made "wraps" for a long time, rolling a local country flatbread called piadina with just the right proportion of one or two paper-thin slices of mortadella, prosciutto or coppa, lightened with grilled vegetables. Simple. Perfect on a summer day.