Ventricina is a distinct salami made in a variety of ways all over Abruzzo. The main ingredients are always nice cuts of pork meat and fat, dried red peppers and fennel seeds. The flavour can be sweet or spicy, and some ventricina (Teramo area) is made to be much like a spread. The ventricina used in this recipe is popular in Southern Abruzzo, in a small village called Carunchio, and is an aged, slightly spicy salami which is very dark red in colour. Ventricina is most often served uncooked as a sliced salami on a starter platter. However, it adds wonderful flavour to a simple pasta dish.
Ingredients for 4
- 200g Ventricina*
- 1 carrot
- 1 stalk of celery
- ½ of a medium onion
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 300g diced tomatoes from a can
- 100ml white or red wine
- 500g cavatelli or gnocchetti pasta*
Chop the ventricina, peel and dice the carrot, dice the celery and chop the onion. Sauté these ingredients in the olive oil until the onion begins to soften, stirring often to avoid browning. Add the wine and let evaporate. Add the tomato sauce and 150ml water. Simmer until sauce reduces to a nice consistency (about 15-20 minutes).
Meanwhile, bring water to a boil, add 1 tbsp sea salt and cook the cavatelli until al dente, or according to package directions.
Drain the pasta and mix it with the sauce. Serve hot. This dish is not traditionally served with parmesan/pecorino cheese, but it can certainly be added to one’s liking.
* In place of ventricina, a combination of salami or sausage and a teaspoon of sweet paprika (or half sweet half spicy) can be used. Cavatelli and gnocchetti pasta is best if made fresh, but can usually be found ready-made fresh or dried. If using dried pasta, 400g should suffice. If neither pasta variety is available in your area, capunti, cassuli, malloreddus or other short pasta will work.