What is Pampanella?
Pampanella is a traditional pork dish found in the Molise region of Italy. It is relatively unknown dish elsewhere but much loved in the region. There are countless restaurants and street vendors who offer up the bright red pork in various combinations. Various prime cuts of meat are used from the ribs, loin, butt, shoulder to the belly. The meat is marinated in a generous paprika mixture, made from local varieties of chilli) then slowly roasted.
Like my ultimate favourite Italian pork recipe, porchetta, pampanella is often served as a sandwich alongside pickles and greens and it's how I first discovered it in Italy. From a wonderful butchers in the beautiful commune of San Martino in Pensilis, Molise - I devoured my sandwich in seconds and was super excited to learn how to make it at home.
Pampanella gets its name from the 'Pampini' leaves (vine/grape leaves) which were traditionally used to wrap the meat for roasting. Nowadays, parchment paper or foil wraps the pork, but the name stuck. It's an amazing dish that emphasises just how diverse and exciting regional Italian food can be. If you're not familiar with Pampanella Molisana, now's the time to make friends!