Recipe: Italian Sausage From the Kitchen Window column
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Italian Sausage

When I was growing up, a small ma-and-pa grocery store opened near us. "Pa" was a professional butcher, and he made sausages. My favorite was his Italian sausage, which my mother would fry in a skillet and serve in a hotdog bun. Loved those things — still do. But these days I'm more likely to use Italian sausage in bulk form as an ingredient in other dishes. Adapted from Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn (W.W. Norton & Co., 2005).

Of course fresh Italian sausage can be stuffed into a casing, but another option is to portion it into patties, fry it and serve it on a bun. Kevin D. Weeks for NPR hide caption

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Kevin D. Weeks for NPR

Of course fresh Italian sausage can be stuffed into a casing, but another option is to portion it into patties, fry it and serve it on a bun.

Kevin D. Weeks for NPR

Makes 3 1/2 pounds

2 tablespoons fennel seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 1/2 tablespoons red pepper flakes

3 pounds boneless pork butt or shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks

8 ounces pork fat, cut into 1-inch chunks

3 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons hot Hungarian paprika

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/3 cup ice water

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Toast fennel seeds, coriander seeds and pepper flakes in a small skillet over low heat, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Toss meat and fat with all seasonings but not water and vinegar. Place in freezer until semi-frozen, about 1 1/2 hours.

Grind meat using 3/16-inch plate. (Or pulse in a food processor until about the size of baby peas.) Add water and vinegar to mixture and knead and squeeze to mix thoroughly. Or use paddle attachment on stand mixer on low. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then fry a small patty, taste and adjust seasonings.

At this point you can stuff casings using a sausage stuffer or divide into bulk portions for later use.

To grill the stuffed version, I pre-cook these by simmering in beer, then grill and serve in buns with chopped raw tomatoes, lettuce, peperoncini and sharp provolone.