The legend says that if you find a sheep or a goat in Val Tramontina, you can easily find someone in the area to help you in processing the meat and turn it into a cured charcuterie: let’s talk about Pitina!
⏱ 4 MINUTES READING
IN THE PLATE
Why illegal? Well, we are not here to be fussy, but if maybe quite some year ago a sheep or goat was missing to a shepherd, the doubt that the animal became a meatball after some illegal hunting was there! Is not like there was a overwhelming evidence to accuse the culprit, considering that the meat was quickly minced quite finely.
In any case, Pitina is surely part of Friuli region tradition beyond any possible origin as an illegal charcuterie, and what’s sure is that makes worth the trip to Val Tramontina where it is made.
It may seem a classic pairing, considering that corn flour is one of the ingredients as coating, but we cannot talk about Pitina without mentioning polenta.
We try although to dig a bit more into the topic of the flour. It doesn’t strictly need to be made as polenta, which is a boiled cornmeal similar to porridge. After being solidified it can be sliced and grilled, or if we zoom out with the geographic magnifying glass we can find a more summerish option such as the nice Mexican tortilla. Also, it can be made Italian into an mais focaccia with rosemary or into a Sicilian classic, the panella.
Have you ever tried corn pizza? Pick your choice.
BUTTER AND VINEGAR
Yes! It works and very well. An unusual couple this one, but if you wish to prize yourself with a nice full tasty bite, put some thick slices of Pitina to roast in a frying pan and almost at the end of cooking add butter and vinegar.
If you have, also a little bit of vegetable broth will help. Once you’ve sort out a nice reduced cream you’ll have the chance to serve yourself or your guests some few beautiful bites of Pitina where the goat notes are mitigated and enriched by the butter and where vinegar, instead of souring the taste, enhances everything, while blinking and eye to Pitina’s smoky notes.
Imagine of middle age, where food was literally classified following 4 great categories: warm/cold, dry/humid. So now, differently from the previous two, we place this pairing into the cold and humid class. Despite this doesn’t make us think about a summer ingredient, beetroot can be considered in other ways and now is the season.
Its earthy notes combined with its sweetness makes it really interesting, and I would say even often underestimated. You’ll see how the sugary hints will perfectly contrast the slightly animal sapidity of Pitina.
Let’s stay in an earthy environment and jump into the world of mushrooms among which I have chosen the pioppino (or chiodino), a little variety of mushroom. Imagine the most different ways of cooking it, with Pitina it will always make a nice couple, those who even if they argue they apologize after five minutes.
I thought of pioppino mushrooms cooked very simply in a pan, but not too much, with just a little good oil and parsley. Place them, still slightly crunchy, on a few slices of previously grilled Pitina.
Then well, if you want to scrape some aged cheese on it like Asiago or Montasio who am I to stop you?!
Matteo De Santi
IN THE GLASS
Don’t be fooled by its small size, goat’s Pitina Igp concentrates, at the same time, power and elegance, aromatic complexity and a funny consistency.
In this episode dedicated to pairings we will have to deal with a product that has all the appearance of a precious mineral.
COLLIO DOC FRIULANO
Friuli Venezia Giulia
From Val Tramontina it is not necessary to travel a long way to find a happy match with Pitina. Going beyond the first fruity notes, the wine gives hints of hay, aromatic herbs and nettle that go well with the slight animal scents of the Pitina. In the mouth then the marked sapidity given by the seasoning of the meat will be well balanced by the softness of the wine. Usually these wines are alcoholic and structured, but still elegant, fantastic!
DOLCETTO D'ALBA DOC
Dolcetto or dosset, as they call it in Piedmont, is a wine full of surprises. Piedmont is generally related to Nebbiolo, nonetheless Dolcetto lends itself very well to the combination with complex and spicy cured meats. The sip is smooth, characterized by not too rough tannins. If I had to mention two foods for “potential of sharing” here, those would be goat Pitina and Dolcetto d’Alba.
Attention: I recommend the magnum format for the bottle.
Since we are talking about treasures to be discovered, we have to mention the black Vernaccia. A wine perhaps little known, but with an incredible pairing potential.
The nose is intense, notes of black and white pepper dominate against a background of red fruits. The sip is then smooth, with a barely hinted tannin and an acidity that seems tailor-made for the fatness of Pitina. Amazement guaranteed!
Those who know Old Fashioned may think we are crazy, but the combination with Pitina is as bizarre as it is intriguing.
The cocktail plays on smoky, herbaceous and citrus notes, and on a softness in the mouth capable of balancing the sapidity of Pitina. Attention, once you have tried the combination you cannot do without it, Old Fashioned and Pitina is the new Sauternes and Foie gras!
MORE IN THE CELLER?
Maybe you don’t want to drink the wines mentioned above and then you will go down the steps of the cellar trying to think of an alternative. However, I would suggest you to look for white wines that are not too sharp, not too aromatic or acidic. As for the reds, on the other hand, I would try to avoid too hard tannins.
Enrico De Conto