Memory of a mortadella sandwich

A recipe by Massimo Bottura, taken from Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef

Mortadella foam:

600 g artisanal mortadella

150 g mineral water

Cut half the mortadella into very thin slices and leave to marinate overnight in the water at 10°C (50°F). Using a rotary evaporator, distil the water and mortadella at 23°C (73°F). Reserve the liquid and discard the solids. Blend the liquid with the remaining mortadella in a thermal mixer for 15 minutes at 40°C (104°F). Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and transfer to a siphon. Charge the siphon with 2 cartridges and let stand for 2 hours in the fridge.

Gnoccho ingrassato:

30 g ciccioli frolli

30 g pancetta arrotolata

70 g ‘00’ flour

80 g Manitoba flour

40 g fresh (brewers’) yeast

40 g mineral water

25 g pork fat

Blend the ciccioli frolli to a powder and pass it through a sieve to achieve a homogenous texture. Slice the pancetta into 1-mm ( 1/16 inch) slices, then cut them into 5-mm (½-inch) squares. Mix the flours with ciccioli frolli powder and pancetta squares until thoroughly and evenly combined. Transfer to a stand mixer, add the yeast and water and mix it to a dough at medium speed, taking care not to overheat it, for at least 4 minutes, but no more than 7. Add the pork fat and mix for another 7 minutes. Leave to rise for 3 hours at room temperature. Knead the dough again and spread it out in two 53 x 32.5-cm (21 x 13-inch) oven trays, or 1/1 gastronorms, to a depth of 1.5 cm (⅔ inch). Cover with a clean dish towel and leave it to prove until it is 4 cm (1½ inches) high. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C fan/convection (220°C/400°F). Bake for 25 minutes with the fan at top speed, if possible.

Pistachio powder:

10 g pistachios

Put the pistachios in a blender and process briefly on the turbo setting until crushed to a powder. Take care not to overheat them.

Liquid garlic:

30 g garlic cloves

150 g milk

0.2 g sea salt

0.9 g agar agar

Peel the garlic and blanch it 3 times in mineral water, changing the water each time. Combine the still-warm garlic with the milk and blend it to a cream. Add the salt, stir and pass through a fine sieve. Heat the mixture in a pan, add the agar agar and cook, stirring, until it has dissolved completely. Let it cool, then blend until completely smooth.

To serve:

Cut the crust off the side of the gnoccho and cut it into four 3–3.5-cm (1¼–1½-inch) cubes. Toast the gnoccho cubes in a hot pan until well toasted on each side. Serve with the mortadella foam on the side, a thin line of pistachio powder and a line of liquid garlic.


Massimo Bottura: Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef

Osteria Francescana is Italy’s most celebrated restaurant. At Osteria Francescana, chef Massimo Bottura takes inspiration from contemporary art to create highly innovative dishes that play with Italian culinary traditions. It’s an approach that has won him three Michelin stars and the number three place on the World's 50 Best Restaurant list.

Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef is a tribute to Bottura’s twenty-five year career and the evolution of Osteria Francescana. Divided into four chapters, each one dealing with a different period, the book features 50 recipes and accompanying texts explaining Bottura’s inspiration, ingredients and techniques. Illustrated with photography by Stefano Graziani and Carlo Benvenuto, Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef is the first book from Bottura - the leading figure in modern Italian gastronomy.