The best Italian sausage you’ve ever eaten awaits with this recipe for making them yourself.
In Italy there are many many salsiccia and salame, and each region has its special log of meat. The most famous are Genoa salami, mortadella, cotechino, and soppressata. Interestingly, there is no bologna sausage in Italy, the local sausage in the town of Bologna is called mortadella. There is most definitely nothing called “Italian Sausage”.
But the term “Italian Sausage” has emerged in the US, and it has a specific flavor profile. It is a tube of coarsely ground pork sausage in natural pork casing, usually about 25% fat, with a distinctive flavor from fennel seed. It comes in three grades, sweet, mild, and hot. The main difference is the amount of hot pepper added, although a few of the sweet blends include basil, and the heat and other seasonings vary significantly from butcher to butcher. It is sold raw, not cured or smoked, and it can be bought in standard 6″ links, in coiled ropes, or loose like burger meat.
The origin of the recipe is uncertain, but Judy Witts Francini, a cookbook author, teacher, and culinary tour guide based in Italy, tells me that there is something similar in Sicily, which makes sense since Southern Italy is where most Italian-American immigrants originated.
Makes:Serve with: an IPA or pale ale.
- 2 1/2 pounds ground pork
- 1/2 pound pork fat
- 1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
- 2 tablespoons mild American paprika
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Mortons coarse kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sweet red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup ice water
- pork casings (about 4 feet)
These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page
- Prep. Before making sausage, please familiarize yourself with best practices as described in our article on The Science Of Sausage Making. Follow steps (1) through (16)
- Serve. You can then grill or smoke it, or store it in the fridge for about 5 days or in the freezer for about a month. Here are some tips on making Italian Sausage Sandwiches. Here is an awesome recipe for a stuffed Italian Sausage Meatloaf.