Hot Italian Sausage
Photo by joanie
This is the second time we've made this sausage based on Batali's Salsicce Fresche con Peperoni recipe. I added some fresh fennel and onion in addition to the fennel seeds and red pepper. This batch is about half the size of Mario's but still makes plenty to eat and fill up the freezer; we just used one casing of about 6 feet, and got 12 sausages links, plus had more than a half pound of ground sausage left that can be used as patties or meatballs. We went the meatball route cooking them up with bell pepper, porcinis, fennel, onion, garlic and mixing it all together with farro. But that's another recipe that Joanie will have to post.
Most of the fun is in grinding your own meat and stuffing the casings, so we do it all at home. Doing this I realized it's been like 9 months since we made sausage, pretty much bought the KitchenAid attachment and only used it once, so now I think I'll commit to sausage making one weekend every month.
- 2 pounds fresh pork shoulder/butt
- 1 pound pancetta
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fennel root (about 1/4 of the bulb)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon red chile flakes
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- Hog casings, about 8 feet
Cut the pork shoulder and pancetta into big strips and stick in the freezer for 15 minutes or so to firm up for grinding. Feed the cold strips into your meat grinder of choice, and grind away through the largest holes. (Or just unwrap the lump your butcher ground up for you, wimp.)
Mix the ground meat together well with your hands. Add the chopped fennel and onion, all the spices and white wine and mix more with your hands until well blended. We went light on the chile flakes for the kids but add more if you want to get hotter.
Set up the sausage stuffer and prepare the casings on the funnel feeder, then feed the mixture into the stuffer. It's a two person job to load the meat into the grinder and to form the sausage as it comes out the stuffer. As the sausage begins to fill the casing carefully feed the casing off the funnel at the correct rate so that the casing is filled to a good size. Let the sausage coil in a spiral onto a plate as the casing fills, then twist them into 6" links later. Don't forget to prick the sausages with a pin to let the little pockets of air out. Refrigerate or cook them as you like right away, and/or freeze what you won't use soon.