We wish we knew the identity of the first person who figured out that salting meat would not only preserve it, but make it taste good. We want to thank him or her. History says that meat curing has been around since ancient times, probably discovered by the Greeks, who then taught the Romans. During those times, it was a way of making sure that there was something to eat during hard times, and, of course, to preserve food before refrigeration.
Curing meat is popular throughout the world, however, nobody does it with such care and creativity like the Italians. As with most things Italian, a great final product begins with a carefully raised product and exacting production techniques. Great cured prosciutto begins with pigs raised in the right climate and that are fed a special diet that ensures great flavor.
Prosciutto is probably the most famous cured meat in the world. The hams from 10-month old pigs are salted and pressed for two months, then rinsed, salted and periodically massaged during the curing process. Many of the pigs in Parma area are fed the whey left from the making of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Pigs near the Umbrian city of Norcia range freely and feast on acorns and truffles. The butchers in this area are know as Norcini, which has become synonymous with the designation of master butcher.
Food Writer Bill Buford writes: “To age a prosciutto is a subtle business. If it's too warm, the aging process never begins. The meat spoils. If it's too dry, the meat is ruined. It needs to be damp but cool. The summer is too hot. In the winter—that's when you make prosciutto.”
Prosciutto di Parma, can only come from farms within a defined area surrounding Parma, Italy. Other well known prosciutti are San Daniele from Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, Prosciutto di Norcia and Speck (which unlike prosciutto is smoked). At M’tucci’s Italian Café & Market we carry Prosciutto di Parma (one aged for 12 months and one aged for 24 months), Prosciutto crudo from Emilia, Speck from Trentino-Alto Aldige, and Jamón Serrano and Jamón Ibérico from Spain.
Many of these products are designated DOP - Denominazione di Origine Protetta - which certifies that the product is authentic, is produced in a specific area, and follows specific rules of production.
Much of the salami, coppa and prosciutto comes from the northern and central parts of Italy, since cool weather is necessary for good air-cured meat. Also, some of the mountainous areas of Southern Italy also produce DOP cured meats like copocollo in Calabria. Calabria and Basilicata also produce soppressata and capocollo.
Capicola and coppa are both produced from the pork collar muscle (near the shoulder). You often see the words coppa, capicola and capocollo referring to this cut of meat. All terms are correct and are generally used based on the region where it is produced. There are different methods for spicing, salting and curing the cut. We make two different styles at the Market, our Applewood-smoked Spicy Capicola and our air-dried Coppa and you can see the results below.
Currently our meat curing program (the only one in New Mexico licensed to sell products retail) has Pancetta (unsmoked Italian bacon), Guanciale (meat from the jowl - indispensable for Pasta all’ Amatriciana- recipe below), Coppa and Capicola. We also cure salmon and make our own pastrami.
You can find the products used in a variety of dishes at all of our restaurants. M’tucci’s Moderno has Spicy Capicola on the Peperoncino Pizza and the Charcuterie Boards B, C, & D have Parma Prosciutto, Spicy Capicola and Speck. At M’tuccii’s Italian, Charcuterie Board A has 2-year Parma Prosciutto and Board C has Spicy Capicola. Our new venture, M’tucci’s @ Lava Rock Brewing Company has Prosciutto on Charcuterie Board A and Spicy Capicola on Board B and the Capicola is on the Smoked Mozzarella Muffaletta Sandwich.
In addition to being able to order any of the aforementioned meats sliced to go, they are available on Charcuterie Boards and Sandwiches at the Market.
Our selection of meat that we don’t cure ourselves includes: Mortadella, Genoa Salami, Soppressata, Finnochiona, Calabrese Salami, Iberico Chorizo and Pepperoni. Some of these are imported and some are produced by one of the oldest Italian Salami houses in the U.S., P.G. Molinari in San Francisco (since 1896).
Pasta all’amatriciana - serves 4
4 oz. M’tucci’s Guanciale
1/2 C. water
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1 T tomato paste (use the kind in a tube)
1/4 C. red wine
1.5 C canned diced tomatos
1 oz Pecorino Romano (1/2 C fresh grated)
1/2 lb pasta (linguine, spaghetti, fettucine)
Slice guanciale into 1/4-inch-thick strips and then dice. Simmer pork and water in a small skillet over medium heat until water evaporates and guanciale begins to sizzle., lower heat and cook softly for about 5 minutes. You want golden pieces of pork. Remove pork and pour off all fat except for about 1 tablespoon and reserve in a bowl.
Add tomato paste and pepper flakes to skillet and cook stirring constantly then add red wine. Cook less than a minute. Add tomatoes with juices, then add guanciale a cook at a low simmer. Make a paste out of reserved fat and half of pecorino.
Bowl pasta in salted water and save 1/2 C water when pasta is al dente. Drain pasta, return it to pot, add sauce, maybe 1/4 C of cooking water, and Pecorino paste, stir until well coated. Serve immediately with the remaining Pecorino.
News from M’tucci’s
M’tucci’s 6th Anniversary Week
Only two more nights to celebrate our 6th Anniversary with a 3-Course menu at both M’tucci’s Italian and at M’tucci’s Moderno. Reservations are not required for these dinners. Cost is $30 per person for the 3 courses paired with three wines.
Here is the menu:
Olive Brined Shrimp, M’tucci’s Baguette, Olive Tapenade, Dressed Greens
Wine: Fantini Trebbiano
Porcini Ravioli, Mushroom Consommé, Marinated Zucchini, Truffle Pecorino or
Italian Style Sirloin, Colonnata Style Butter Tossed Salt Water Potatoes, Marinated Red Bell Peppers or
Seared Yellowfin Tuna, Potato-Chive Croquettes, Oyster Mushrooms, Salsa Verde
Wine: Sassoregale Sangiovese or Oliver Hill Shiraz or Caymus Conundrum
House Gelatos- Pistaccio and Apricot Gelato, Champagne Biscotti
Wine: Folinari Prosecco
$30 Per Person
Tax & Gratuity Not Included
M’tucci’s @ Lava Rock Brewing Co.
M’tucci’s and Lava Rock Join Forces
M’tucci’s kitchen is open at Lava Rock Brewing Co. Chef Fred Gallegos is heading a team of talent in the kitchen (making those great pizzas that you all love), and he has created a menu to complement the beers made by Ram Khalsa at the brewery. Click here to see the menu, a map of the location, and the hours.
Saturday 7:00-9:00: The Gershom Brothers Live on the Patio (weather permitting)
We think you are going to love the food and beer pairing at Lava Rock. Come visit Lava Rock at 2220 Unser Blvd (about a mile north of I-40). Call (505) 836-1022 for details. Their website is: http://lavarockbrewpub.com/
Check out the site and follow them on Facebook: @LavaRockBC and Instagram: @Lavarockbc
In addition to our Anniversary Prix Fix Menu, we have the following Weekend Specials:
Pan Seared Baramundi $26
White and flaky yet meaty texture, buttery flavor
Wine Pairing: Kiona Reisling, Washington, $8/32
~Bright floral notes along with apricot and honey aromas~
Hand Cut Steak of the Day: 24 oz T-Bone $33
Wine Pairing: Molly Dooker "The Scooter" Merlot, South Australia $7/25
~Vibrant red Merlot with rich flavor and a soft touch of oak~
Lemonade: Strawberry Basil
Gelato: Stracciatella or Ultra DarkChocolate
Sorbetto: Peach Champagne
Friday, 8:30-10:30: Adam Hooks Live in the Bar
M’tucci’s Italian Café & Market
The new Café & Market continues to wow our guests, primarily because of the amazing pastries in our display case every day. Our new hours are 8:00am - 6:00pm. We carry the same great Italian imports, all of our artisan breads, and a wide variety of imported, domestic, and house made cheese and meat. There is an expanded selection of coffee and pastries. We’ll still have charcuterie boards, salads and sandwiches to eat in or take out. Click here to see our new menu.
Just a few treats that have flown out the door in the past week:
Pan Seared Fish: New Zealand Swordfish, Roasted Italian Artichokes, Sautéed Arugula, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Lemon Caper Beurre Blanc
Cut Of The Day: 24oz House Cut Porterhouse, Crispy Salt Water Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, Balsamic Reduction, Grilled Lemon
The Braise: Five Pork Medley, Roasted Garlic Polenta, Spicy Marinara, Sautéed Spinach, Pecorino, Basil
Ravioli: Wild Boar and Ricotta Stuffed Ravioli, Caramelized Onions, Guanciale San Marzano Sauce, Shaved Aged Parmesan, Local Micro Greens
Weekend Brunch: 11:00 - 3:00
New menu for drinks and food. Click here.
M’TUCCI’S AROUND TOWN
Our market items can be purchased at a couple of locations. We deliver our fresh bread every Tuesday and Friday to Silver Street Market at 2nd and Silver. Choose from Sourdough, Fennel Rye, Wheat, Baguette, Ciabatta, Raisin Rosemary and Focaccia. Look for our pastries in some of the area’s best coffee shops soon.
Drinking at Bosque in Nob Hill? You can order a M’tucci’s Charcuterie Board while there.
SERVICE INDUSTRY NIGHT & DISCOUNTS
Area service industry workers can get a Service Industry card from us by showing proof of employment. With the card you receive 10% off your check every day and 20% off on Sundays from 6:00 - 9:00. Dine in only.
Our food is available for delivery with Door Dash or for pick up. Pick up something for the weekend or on your way home from work. The links to ordering are on the Home page.
MTUCCI’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Videos about making cocktails and pasta and getting to know the M’tucci’s culture. Click here
See you next Friday - Ciao!