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Traditional Mortadella Bologna Mousse Recipe

Traditional Mortadella Bologna Mousse Recipe

The Mortadella Bologna mousse, like many other recipes from the old Bolognese school, was lost for a while.

Perhaps for this reason, when it came back a few years ago, many thought that the mousse was a magic sprouted from the cylinder of the wizards of street food, born already spread on crusty bread.

Mortadella Bologna Mousse Recipe

Mortadella Bologna mousse

Tortellini in brodo, lasagne alla Bolognese, and ragù alla Bolognese are iconic recipes of Bologna, famous in Italy and abroad. But if I had to indicate one product that is the main ingredient in many Bologna recipes, it would be mortadella.

Mortadella Bologna is made of high-quality, finely ground pork meat and seasoned with spices and cubes of pork fat. It is protected by the European Union designation PGI which ensures the quality and origin of its ingredients. It’s also gluten-free.

However, mortadella Bologna mousse is an ancient recipe of the local tradition. The city delegation of the Accademia della Cucina Italiana, in 2004, deposited the ‘authentic’ recipe at the Bologna Chamber of Commerce.

Its origins are rooted in the gastronomic history of Bologna and seem linked to the use of mortadella leftovers from other preparations. From a leftover recipe, nothing tastier could be born. And nothing else is known.

It is, for me, a special recipe and reminds me of the years when I was a young researcher in contemporary history at the University of Bologna.

After finishing my Ph.D., I returned to work in the faculty where I had graduated. And I also worked as an editor for Il Mulino, a historical publishing house in Bologna.

About editing and lunches

his recipe is a gift given to me by an incredible cook from Bologna.

Thinking about her brings me back to the happy years of working as an editor for over a decade for the magazine sector at the publishing house Il Mulino. Thanks to that experience, I read essays and articles by brilliant Italian and foreign intellectuals and writers. Again, I became familiar with editorial plans and the organization of conferences. And with many people. Authors, colleagues, and then her, Mrs Magda.

If the connection between the recipe and my life as an editor seems unclear, I’m getting to the point.

Editorial meeting

Il Mulino publishes many magazines. It was customary for the different editorial teams to meet at least once a year. Each group was assigned a meeting room. Fortunately, the building on Strada Maggiore that houses the publishing house is large and beautiful. Being able to visit it was another great privilege linked to those years.

Meetings lasted all day, and we had lunch inside. Unbelievable but true.
All of us, dozens of hungry professors and young researchers, were looked after by her. Mrs Magda.

From the small kitchen of the publishing house came dishes and smells that I cannot forget. At the end of lunch, I lingered with her, exchanging a few words and helping her with the dishes.

One day I asked her for the recipe for Bologna mortadella mousse, also known in Bologna as spuma. She, smiling and kind, was firmly saying no.
I thought there was nothing more to say about it, until the day I came into the office of Carla, head of the whole magazine department, and found her with a surprised face waving a packet of papers saying ‘how did you do it? Now Monica has to tell me”.

The papers were Magda’s recipes: not one, all of them.
I sat down because of the emotion of such a great gift. Magda had changed her idea. We never really talked about that gift. I said thank you, but I understood she preferred not to talk about it.

Enjoy mortadella Bologna mousse

The mousse has the consistency of pâté and you can serve it as an appetizer, aperitif or merenda.

Serve Bologna mortadella mousse with warm bread, streghe flatbread, typical savory crackers of Bologna, or Parmigiano cookies.

You can also use it to dress a cold pasta.

Buona cucina, Monica

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Mortadella Bologna mousse recipe

Food Tips

To make a special mousse, respect the delicate balance among the ingredients. Trust the recipe.

Parmigiano Reggiano and Mortadella of mediocre quality produce a “sad” mousse. It is a typical Bolognese expression that means the food is not very good.

Mortadella Bologna Mousse Recipe

serves 6
List of the Ingredients

250 g Mortadella PGI, about 1-2 slices, cut a little thicker
110 g mixed or cow’s milk ricotta (never sheep’s milk ricotta)
20 g grated Parmigiano Reggiano
100-120 g whole milk or heavy cream

If you want a softer texture, use heavy cream or a mix of milk and cream.


Prepare and weigh the ingredients.

Blend all the ingredients until you have a smooth, mousse-like texture.
Keep the mortadella mousse in the refrigerator until ready to serve, and do not prepare it too far in advance.

If you want to go overboard, whip 30g of heavy cream, and add it to the mousse.

Mortadella Bologna mousse recipe


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