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Mortadella Mousse

 It’s been made since ancient Roman times. The name mortadella is derived from mortariolum, which means mortar, the implement that was used to mince pork meat before electric grinders came along. The recipe that we know today as mortadella dates back to 1661, when one Cardinal Farnese published a public notice in Bologna codifying the making of this product for the first time. Down through the centuries, the mortadella from Bologna became famous and spread to many areas of what is now known as Northern and Central Italy. In 1998, it received the prestigious European recognition of the Protected Geographical Indication mark, (IGP) an acronym that guarantees a product originating from a region whose quality, recipe and characteristics can be traced back to its geographic origin.

Who knows what’s in the mortadella you buy at the big chain grocery stores? If you have an Italian deli near you, try searching out real mortadella from Italy. Its fragrance is nothing like what you’ll find at supermarkets.
There are several places in Rome that display huge mortadella — at least 12 inches in diameter and five feet long. This one’s at Panella.
If you have a hankering to make your own mortadella, take a look at this video. It doesn’t look complicated, but it does seem time-consuming. But the end results look better than anything I’ve ever bought.
The parmesan cheese in this mousse also adds to its appeal.
Moreover, it’s fast and easy to make and even people who claim not to like mortadella may become converts.
Mortadella Mousse
Mortadella Mousse
Time: 20 minutes
1/2 pound mortadella in one piece, rind removed
1/4 cup mascarpone
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese (about 1 ounce), more optional
Pinch of nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
Toast rounds for serving (or crackers)
Whole shelled, salted pistachios or capers for garnish.
1. Dice mortadella and place in a food processor; grind to a paste. Add the mascarpone, 1/3 cup grated cheese and the nutmeg. Process until blended. Spread on toast and top each with a pistachio or caper, or refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Alternatively, each canapé without the garnish can be dusted with about a half-teaspoon of grated cheese, arranged on a baking sheet and run under the broiler briefly, about a minute, to lightly brown the top.