Hot Italian Sausage
People often ask me why I make things from scratch, things they think are easily bought in a store. Cost is one reason. Take chicken stock, for instance. Yes, you can buy it in a can or box, but it’s simple to make from leftover chicken carcasses and is nearly free when you do so. But another reason is to control exactly what goes into your food, like in this recipe for loose Italian sausage. But making your own you ensure the highest quality of ground pork is used, and then you control the spices and seasonings. Don’t like fennel that much? Then reduce the fennel seed. Prefer it really spicy? Then add more red pepper flakes. You get the idea. Use this ground sausage in baked ziti or lasagna, sprinkle it over a frozen pizza to dress it up, or add it to pasta with broccoli and cream and a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Most importantly, don’t overcook the sausage (see that little bit of pink in the photo?) as that will dry it out. It will finish cooking completely in whatever recipe you make.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1½ teaspoons fennel seed (or more or less to taste)
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 pound ground pork
- Combine the olive oil, vinegar, and parsley in a medium bowl. Combine the fennel, salt, peppercorns, and red pepper in a spice grinder and pulse a few times to roughly break up the fennel seeds; add to the parsley mixture, then add the garlic and onion powders. Stir to combine, the use your hands to mix the pork and spices together.
- Sauté the pork mixture in a skillet over medium high heat, using a spoon to break up the meat as it cooks. Remove from heat when there is still a tiny bit of pink showing in the meat and drain off excess fat. Store in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze until ready to use.