November 15, 2009

breakfast in rome

Pizza BiancaImage by scottpartee via Flickr

When in Rome, do as the Romans. This is especially true when it comes to the breakfast sandwich of choice: pizza bianca con la mortadella (or "mortazza" as its affectionately known to the Romans).

I have very fond memories of staying with my uncle and his family in Rome and waking up to the smells of fresh "white" pizza from the bakery down the street and mortadella sliced so thin you could see through it, the fat melting into the hot dough. Oooooh, so good.

But my mortadella consumption was not limited to my stays in the Eternal City. The sandwich of my youth was mortadella and a mild semi-soft cheese on a crusty roll. I like Havarti even though it's not very Italian but provolone or Friulano (a Canadian cheese similar to Montasio) is just as good. You could always pick out the Italian kids in the cafeteria at school where mortadella made a regular appearance and there wasn't a slice of white sandwich bread in sight!

My cousins used to love to torture me with stories of mortadella being made of donkey meat. In fact, mortadella is a large sausage made with finely ground pork, spiced and shot through with whole lardons (traditionally from the neck) and peppercorns. Other ingredients can also be added to the sausage and I am particularly partial to pistachios. The flavour is incredibly delicate and it's best when sliced as thin as humanly possible.

Next time you're in Rome do as the Romans and order the pizza bianca co' la mortazza!

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