Pitina is a traditional Italian recipe for a salume without casing, essentially an air dried meatball! It originates from the Dolomite valleys. It's likely the recipe was used to preserve the meats from hunts. Since the preparation doesn't require specialised equipment - it can be made easily by anyone at home. It's quick to make and you'll have delicious Pitina in about 2 - 3 weeks!
This video is a fantastic walk through of how to make them. I've modified this recipe slightly, by cold smoking the meatballs for 2 hours before drying and by adding a bacterial culture to lower the PH to further protect against bacteria such as Listeria. The red wine in the recipe would likely have served to bring the PH down for this reason, as well as imparting flavour and helping create a nice bind and texture:
You can mix and match meats, using boar, goat, lamb or beef - it's great fun to experiment with different tastes and textures. The below recipe should make you 3 good sized Pitina.
A note about the starter culture i use for this recipe:
"Flora Italia" is a culture suitable for production of fast fermented sausages with short production time. It provides fast acidification and strong antagonistic properties against Listeria monocytogenes.
- 25 g Pork fat
- 75 g Diced lamb shoulder
- 400 g Diced pork shoulder
- 14 g Salt
- 2.5 g Crushed black pepper
- 2.5 g Crushed fennel seeds
- 75ml Red wine
- 1 Clove garlic, crushed
- 50g Polenta flour
- .8g flora italia culture
- 15 ml water
- 2.5 g Dextrose
- Grind or very finely chop up all the meat and fat (its easier to chop the fat if you partially freeze it first)
- Mix in the salt, black pepper, fennel seeds, red wine and garlic
- Add the dextrose and mix thoroughly
- Add the Flora Italia starter culture to the water (ideally distilled water) and leave for 30 mins
- Mix the starter culture in with everything else and mix thoroughly to get a good bind
- Form into 3 evenly sized meatballs (i make an extra small one to use as a PH test)
- Roll all the meatballs and leave in a warm place over night.
- Take the PH using a meat PH tester and weigh them individually, for reference
- In 24 hours you want your PH to be below 5
- Cold smoke over oak for 2 hours
- Place on a rack in an environment of about 75RH at 12c for until they have lost 30% of their weight. This should take around 2 - 3 weeks