Sunday, February 22, 2015
The Cudighi sandwich... Lombard-Yooper culture in Upper Michigan: Part 2
A Cudighi is a spicy Italian sausage that can be bought in links or can be served as a sandwich on a long, hard roll, often with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce. Cudighi came from Italy to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It can be served many ways in many Italian dishes. The sandwich was originally served with raw onions and mustard on a roll. The sandwich is known as an Italian sausage sub throughout most of the United States. However, it is known as Cudighi in the Upper Peninsula county of Marquette, where it can be found at almost all the local pizza and pasty shops.
The word "Cudighi" is now unknown in Italy, although it seems to be derived from Cotechino, an old Lombard word for a fresh sausage made from pork, fatback, and pork rind. According to Hormel Foods, Cudighi originated in Northern Italy. The recipe for what is known as "Cudighi" is likely highly specific to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The taste of Cudighi depends much on the amount of clove and cinnamon present in the mix.
Cudighi sandwich remains staple in the Yooper diet
Rebecca Himmelstein - UpperMichiganSource.com - October 31, 2014
ISHPEMING -- The cudighi has become a staple in the Yooper diet. The construction is simple. Homemade Italian sausage is flattened into a patty and grilled. It is commonly served with melted mozzarella cheese and pizza sauce, but every restaurant has their unique version.
“The basic cudighi has marinara sauce and cheese on French bread and then we have the works, which has mushrooms, green peppers, onions, marinara sauce and the cheese” said Robert Caron, co-owner of Vangos restaurant in Marquette. “Then you have to have that with some waffle fries.”
Vangos has been serving cudighi for 50 years.
“We grind the meat fresh daily and make each batch every day, so it is as fresh as can be and we use the best possible ingredients to make the best cudighi sandwich” said Caron.”
Ralph’s Italian Deli in Ishpeming has sold their secret family recipe since the 1960s.
“The more popular ways are with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and onions” said Dominic Gervasi, co-owner of Ralph’s Italian Deli. “A lot of people like ketchup, mustard, onions and mozzarella cheese combination. Also we serve fresh, homemade buns. We make the bread every day. The bun is very important, that has always been 50-percent of it.”
Italian immigrants started making them in Ishpeming and the sandwich’s popularity grew from there across the Upper Peninsula.
“It is a tradition” said Caron. “It is something that you grow up with. It is just a great sandwich and just a little taste of home.”
“The biggest evolvement I have seen is just the number of people and businesses that have gotten into making them and selling them, because it is just like pizza, almost any restaurant makes a pizza now anywhere you go” said Gervasi.
Both restaurants agree that what makes their cudighi sandwiches so good is fresh, high quality ingredients and consistency.
“It is always the same” said Caron. “It is always the same, just a great sandwich.”