Annugghia is a very rare traditional sausage that is made by stuffing parts of the guts into a casing, generally the small intestine of the pig. It can also be found stuffed with pieces of horse or bovine guts because, being a poor cured meat, its purpose was also to use parts of animals that were available but not typically used by butchers. It has the same shape as a sausage. Therefore, it is cylindrical and elongated, but it is not as thick as sausages that are stuffed with lard and minced meat. It is quite long, and it can even reach a meter in length and about 1 kilogram in weight. It has no twists in it and has a whitish colour on the outside which is caused by moulds that are produced during the maturation process. The inside is also white, due to the absence of meat. Its flavour, is quite intense and strong, it has a scent that is reminiscent of animal entrails, which is more or less intense depending on the marinade used. The marinade is typically made using pepper and fennel seeds and it gives the annugghia a strong and spicy smell.
Its production is seasonal and is mainly linked to the slaughter period of the pigs. It is also used as a tasty addition to autumn-winter vegetable soups and in the traditional recipe of “mignilicchi seduti”, a dish based on blanched broccoli, the broccoli is then fried with a drizzle of oil on the bottom in a pan and then layered with semi-matured caciocavallo and slices of annugghia. The last thick layer of vegetables is covered with a little bit of cheese to form a delicious crust and cooked in the oven or over a low heat.
Annugghia was once widespread throughout the Basilicata region. Currently, however, its production is very limited to almost nothing, and if it is made it is mostly for family and personal use. The process of making it is quite elaborate and the most important phase of the production process is the marinating step. It is essential to eliminate unpleasant odours due to the entrails, marinating lasted for several consecutive days. After marinating, it was moved on to be dried, cleaned and filled into the casing. The product is then ready to be aged in a dry and cool place for several weeks, until it reaches the right consistency. It must be firm but not excessively hard.
The slaughtering of the pig was obviously entrusted to the men while the processing, and above all the fundamental marinating step, was carried out by the women of the house who with their knowledge, were able to make even a salami that was obtained from the entrails a tasty and pleasant product.
In the past, the local pigs were all black-haired. The native breed was called the “cavallina lucana”, a breed that was mainly bred outdoors. Typically, it would dig into the ground to recover roots and tubers which, together with the acorns, formed an important part of their diet.
The standardisation of taste, which has resulted in people being unable to eat very strong flavours such as the annugghia’s, puts the survival of this salami at great risk. The current trend is not to use guts and scraps in general: in the past these parts were processed like any other cut of meat. The other issue is the fact that the process to obtain natural casings is quite elaborate and therefore the butchers currently tend to replace them with casings made from synthetic materials.