Do you know what luganega is? Have you ever heard of it? Have you ever tasted it? It can be commonly associated with the sausage, but with this it has some differences. Both are prepared to form a string, but while the luganega has a continuous narrow and long shape, the sausage is divided into parts, called knots.
Both are prepared cutting with the knife parts of the pork, then stuffed into a natural pig casing. The meat of the luganega is flavoured with salt, pepper in grains and pepper powder. The luganega is rolled on itself, as to form a spiral and left to rest in wicker basket for a first drying, then pressed and sometimes given a slight smoking.
The name luganega betrays the origin of this Lucanian delicacy. The first testimony of its existence was transmitted to us by Varrone around 47/45 b.C., in his work De Lingua Latina (On the Latin language): “a sausage made with large intestine of the pig is called luganega, because the soldiers learned to do it from the Lucanians”.
The first that brought this Lucanian delicacy outside the borders of today’s Basilicata were the aristocratic families of Lucania captured and deported to Epirus by Alexander I of Epirus, when, in 323 b.C. he conquered Apulia and defeated the Lucanians. There families were allowed all the comforts derivinf from their rank and at the same time passed on their culinary skills to the host population, which is why today in the Greek taverns you can find in the menu this Lucanian delicacy, with the name loukanika.
At the time of the Romans, the luganega was brought to Northern Italy by the Lombards, the barbarians of Germanic origin, and today it is the main ingredient of Risotto alla monzese.
The perfect match for this Lucanian delicacy is an excellent glass of Aglianico del Vulture, the main grape variety of Basilicata, with over 60% of the area planted with vines. If you want to know the places where to taste it first hand we recommend the tour A Flight among Sassi, Castles and Flavours. Meanwhile you can read the article Matera, city of the Sassi and to find out what to do in Basilicata The Flight of the Angel.