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What Is Mortadella?

Mortadella is a type of cured Italian sausage that can be likened to bologna in both size and appearance. Mortadella is made from pork that has been ground and then mashed so that it turns into a paste. The name "mortadella" may have been derived from the Roman word meaning "mortar." The name could pertain to the use of a mortar and pestle in crushing meats, and other food stuffs.

Aside from pork meat, mortadella also has pork fat in it. The fat comes from the throat of the pig. The sausage is spiced with pepper and may also have myrtle berries and coriander. In Italy, an additional ingredient that is added to mortadella is pistachios or pine nuts. The italian preparation of mortadella means cooking it for a number of hours at a very low temperature and with low humidity. Mortadella must be kept refrigerated after baking it where it can keep for as long as eight months.

The production of mortadella was and still is mostly concentrated around the area of Bologna in Italy. Records that date back as early as the 14th century have mentioned mortadella. About 160,000 tons of mortadella are consumed within the country every year.

In the US, mortadella is commonly served by slicing it as thick as bologna would be sliced. Italians, on the other hand, prefer to serve it by slicing it very thinly. Mortadella may look quite decadent and quite unhealthy because of the pieces of fat that one can see, it surprisingly does not contain a large amount of saturated fat. Each slice of mortadella only has about nine percent of saturated fat though the overall fat content is 28 percent.

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