Homemade Italian Sausage
You may have read complaints in this blog about how here in Northern Italy I haven’t found “Italian” (at least I thought it was) sausage. You know the kind, with fennel seeds if it’s mild and fennel + red pepper flakes if its hot? The most delicious grill item served on a piece of Chicago Gonnella or Turano long loaf with a slice of tomato or sweet peppers? Well, a while back I did find some mild sausage with fennel seed, got all excited, bought it, took it home, cooked it and was very disappointed. I cooked it thoroughly, until the casing was dark dark brown. Well, ok, I burned, it. I forgot it on the stove and it ended up way over on the side of well-done. But the interior was still pink, thoroughly cooked but pink. It’s as if they used so much food coloring that the pink never gave way to the brown of cooking. Yeesh!
The other day, my butchers were selling lots of ground pork so I took avantage of the opportunity and got a kilo of it to make my own Italian sausage. The recipe was more than simple. Here’s what I did:
1 kilo (2.2 pounds) of ground pork
3 tsps of mild Hungarian paprika
2 tsps salt
1 tbsp fennel seeds lightly bruised in a mortar and pestle
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
In a very large bowl, I thoroughly mixed all the above ingredients with my hands (boy is that fun!) Music to squoosh pork with your fingers by: "Jacking the Ball" by Chicago alt-artists, The Sea and Cake. The thing is, unlike Danno at NOLA Cuisine, I don’t have a contraption with which I can safely age the sausage. My stuff is very moist and can only be served as meatballs or burgers but it really tastes like real, Chicago-style “Italian sausage”! So I’m happy.
P.S. Give a toast to Italy today as they (we?) celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Constitution signed on June 2, 1946!