Another glorious day of food is upon us! And today, as you all know is National Sopressata Day. For no other reason than because we here at Cooking With Nonna said so! Now, if you all at home are wondering what Sopressata is, it is basically just a cured, dry pork meat, similar to salami.
Mind you, I had absolutely NO IDEA how it was made or knew exactly what it's contents were when I was a child. Had I known I may not have been able to fully enjoy Sopressata for what it was: a deliciously salty, sometimes spicy, never too chewy salami that tasted incredible accompanied by a nice hard cheese like Grana Padano, or on a piece of crusty bread, or simply on its own. Alas, I know the truth now, and to my surprise it is pretty. Sopressata is made from the leg of the pig (same leg that you would use to make Prosciutto) that has been well seasoned and stuffed into a casing. Then they're hung to dry for one month (If you start now it will be ready by Easter for sure!). I also had no idea how my family came to acquire such a fantastic supply of Sopressata.
At first my Papino Vito didn't take on the sometimes arduous task of making Sopressata himself. So what was a family to do? Find someone else to make it for you of course! Luckily, my family knew a wonderful old man in Brooklyn named Nonno Settimio who was a native Calabrese and was a passionate Sopressata maker. So passionate in fact, that he made a generous supply of Sopressata for us every year that was out of this world! Nonno Settimio was the seventh son of a farmer in Italy. Back then, farmers believed in having many children to be able to help them with cultivation.
Remembering the names of children gets tricky as you near a dozen, so parents used to assign numerical names. Settimio, for example, literally means seventh in Italian. So he was a great guy and I suppose he was used to making Sopressata for A LOT of people. What's a few more?
Sadly, Nonno Settimio passed away a few years ago. He was a happy man who always looked like the ideal kind of Nonno: chubby and jolly with a red nose. I'll miss him more than the Sopressata that he generously made for my family each and every year.
Now that the Sopressata party is over, it's time for Papino Vito find another Nonno and FINALLY learn how to make it himself. Please meet our good friends Nonno Ciriaco and Nonna Rosetta, two excellent Sopressata and everything else makers that come from Aquilonia in the province of Avellino. Together with Nonno Ciriaco, Papino Vito made our batch of Sopressata for the year and in about one month I will let you know how it comes out! (PS: He has made Sopressata with Nonno Ciriaco for the past three years already and the results have been GREAT!). The process is rather simple… so he tells me. However, I intend on taking his word for it for the next few years by just standing by in observation :) I fully intend on taking part in the eating though!
Nonno Ciriaco & Nonna Rosetta
Here is the recipe on how to make Sopressata... Good Luck!