March 28, 2011 | Meat & Poultry, Popular
I’m not a fan of buying prepared foods. Obviously, I like to cook, but also I like to control what goes into things I create. And while you might not think of Italian sausage as a prepared food, indeed someone has already added ingredients together to make something before you buy it. So why did I feel compelled to make it myself? For one thing, I’d rather get my ground meat all in it’s basic natural state. It gives me more flexibility to decide what to use it for and what to add to it when I set out to create something. Also, I wanted to have that classic pork flavor, but make it a little lighter, so I used half ground pork and half ground turkey. Had I purchased store-bought sausage I would have had to choose either pork or turkey. Most importantly, making homemade sausage is actually simpler than making meatballs or a meatloaf, so hang with me here and read on!Making Italian sausage is truly a cinch. You simply need to mix the seasonings into the meat, and as a bonus you can decide how much heat to add by adjusting the red pepper flakes. While I chose to shape mine into small balls, don’t confuse these with meatballs – they contain no egg or binder like breadcrumbs, just seasoned meat – in this case pork and turkey. You can fill the mixture into casings (more work than I was up to),… …shape into balls and bake or fry, or just fry loose. Notice that I baked mine on silicone baking mats. They don’t stick this way and the mats come totally clean easily.After mine were cooked, I let my husband talk me into making one of his kind of dishes. I tossed partially cooked penne (about 5 minutes so it doesn’t overcook when you bake it) with some mascarpone cheese and marinara sauce, then tossed it with grated mozzarella cheese. I plopped some meatballs into the mixture and smothered it with more mozzarella…… and baked it at 350 until it was bubbly and the cheese was fully melted. I covered mine with foil while it cooked – my husband would have left that off (gourmet chef that he is!).
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground turkey (or use all pork)
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed slightly
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more if you want it hotter
- 2 teaspoons ground sage
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ cup white wine
- If you are using two different types of ground meat, use a fork to mix them well before adding other ingredients. Then, combine all ingredients together, mixing to ensure spices are evenly distributed throughout the meat. Either fill in clean casings, shape into balls, or use loose.