Ancient Roman Farcimina – Spelt and Meat Sausages


There are many recipes of sausages and meatballs in the cookbook conventionally attributed to Apicius. From the Edict of Prices issued in the 302 by Emperor Diocletian, we know that they were sold already prepared at the market, made with beef or pork meat. In Horace and Martial’s poems, we find different kinds of sausages mentioned frequently. We find out that they were among the dishes served at the diners, called thermopolia, paired with other foods, usually a puls. However, sausages were served also in the richest convivia, as we read in Petronius’ Satyricon, and the presence in Apicius’ book is a testimony of their great popularity among the richest social classes.
In the past, we prepared lucanica sausage; this time, we present farcimina, delicious sausages made with spelt and meat. The singular form is farcimen, which means filling, from farcio, to stuff.
We suggest serving these sausages with barley polenta, taro, or spelt puls.
Below, you find the original text with our translation, a note about the ingredients, and the video of the recipe subtitled in English and Italian. Enjoy!

Farcimina - Piatto 2

450 gr pork tenderloin
100 gr spelt
pine nuts
black pepper
pork casing
ancient Roman mustard

Soak in cold water the pork casing for a few hours.
Boil the spelt in water for about 45 minutes. In the meantime, grind the pine nuts and black pepper in the mortar, then mince and pound the meat.
Let the spelt cool down and pound it in the mortar, mixing it with the meat, pine nuts, pepper, and garum.
Fill the pork casing to make the sausages, then boil them in water for about 5 minutes and discard the water. Grease a griddle with olive oil and cook the sausages for another couple of minutes.
Plate the sausages, whole or sliced, with mustard.

Farcimina - Preview

Note about the ingredients
This sausage is meant to be served with mustard. You find two recipes we prepared at this link.
The author does not specify which kind of meat to use, just that it has to be lean. We suggest choosing pork or beef. The cooking time changes depending on the kind and cut of meat.
Black pepper was the most common and less expensive in ancient Rome. We chose it because it pairs perfectly with the other ingredients, but you can use long or white pepper, both available in this period.
The author writes nothing about the ratio among the ingredients. With the quantities we chose, we obtained a well-balanced meat sausage, but you can use more or less meat according to your taste.
In this case, we suggest using a good amount of garum to obtain enough sapidity, remembering that you can always substitute it with salt. Garum was a fish sauce very popular among the ancient Mediterranean populations. The recipes survived show that the basic method was identical to the way South-East Asian populations prepare still today their traditional fish sauces, the best substitute for garum.

Farcimina - Thumbnail

Original text
Coctam alicam et tritam cum pulpa concisa et trita una cum pipere et liquamine et nucleis. Farcies intestinum et elixabis, deinde cum sale assabis et cum sinapi inferes, vel sic concisum in disco.

Cooked and pounded spelt with minced lean meat pounded with pepper, garum, and pine nuts. Stuff a casing and parboil the farcimina, then roast them with salt and serve with mustard, [whole] or cut into pieces in a plate.

Ancient Roman Recipes Playlist

YouTube Channel


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