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Luganega Sausages

A Tradition of the Veneto

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Luganega sausages, one with fennel and the other with hot pepper

Luganega sausages, one with fennel and the other with hot pepper

© Kyle Phillips licensed to About.Com
Luganeghe (singular Luganega) are slim sausages. The casing is filled, as with any sausage, but then they're not twisted into links. Rather, the butcher (if there's space in the display case) coils the sausage up in a tight spiral, the way sailors coil lines on the decks of boats, and removes a length from the spiral when one asks for it. It's always fresh, not cured.

Though there are north Italians who claim the Luganega as a signature northern sausage, it is actually south Italian in origin, deriving its name from Lucania, the Ancient term for what is now Basilicata, on the instep of the boot.

Roman legionaries stationed in Lucania greatly enjoyed it, and took it with them when they were ordered north.

Unflavored Luganega sausage works well as an ingredient, for example in riso e luganeghe (rice and luganega) or verze e luganeghe (Savoy cabbage and luganega. One can also grill luganeghe, and the flavored ones pictured here will be especially nice this way; to make them easier to turn, coil them up tightly and then put two wooden skewers through them at right angles.

A general overview of salumi, Italian cold cuts.
Affettati Misti, a mixed cold cut antipasto
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