Italian Sausage

Total Time:
5 hr 5 min
Prep:
50 min
Inactive:
4 hr
Cook:
15 min

Yield:
2 pounds or 10 to 12 (4-inch) sausage links
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
  • 2 pounds pork butt (2 1/2 pounds with bone), diced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 5 feet of 36 millimeter collagen casings (do not allow to get wet at any time)
  • Shortening, to lubricate nozzle of stuffer
  • Special equipment: meat grinder with stuffing attachment or manual stuffer
Directions

Toast fennel seed in medium sized, heavy saute pan over medium heat, constantly moving seeds around in pan until they start to turn light brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cool, grind seeds and combine with salt, pepper, and chopped parsley in medium mixing bowl. Add pork and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Using the fine blade of a grinder, grind the pork. After lubricating stuffer or stuffing attachment with shortening, load casing onto attachment, clipping end with a clothespin. Stuff meat into casings, trying to avoid air pockets. After stuffing is finished lay out on counter and tie off end. Pinch and twist to form 4-inch sausages. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. Store in refrigerator for use within 2 to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. If freezing, wrap in aluminum foil. If using immediately, saute over medium heat in a heavy saute pan with 1/4-inch of water. Bring water to boil, put on lid and cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking over medium heat, turning every 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Sausage should reach an internal temperature of 150 to 156 degrees F.


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    werry good, ty
    I cheated a little bit, and it was awesome. Really surprised by how easy and tasty it was. 
     
    I only changed two things about this recipe. I used ground pork, and I didn't put it in the skin. I did follow the rest of the recipe as written. 
     
    I have now used the sausage in a couple of recipes, and it is really tasty. Spaghetti sauce with Italian sausage, browned it, and put it on some bread with cheese and sauce. I use it anywhere I would packaged sausage, except this really tastes fresher, it's cheaper than packaged and it's really easy.
    I love this recipe. Did this at least thrice in 2006 and then again last week, 09/21/2012. Nothing beats Alton's recipes! This is even much better than those you eat at Italian restaurants here in North Beach in SFO. Excellent recipe. Thanks to Alton who knows the science of cooking and baking. Kudos!
    This and Alton's breakfast sausage are my fave sausages. For me, this recipe is just right. Not too much fennel, salt, or spice. I have stuffed once, but I usually make this for bulk sausage for my Italian dishes. Im back now to make some more. Whenever pork goes on sale, I make sausage! The grinder for my KitchenAid is really the only accessory I use a LOT. Best investment for the best sausage.
    I agree on all counts.
    This is the way my Italian family has made sausage for as long as I can remember. We did use the real casing, however.  
     
    Thank you, Alton.
    This is what I have been looking for. The taste i remember as a kid, and simple. I make 6 lbs of venison sausage at a time and stuff it. Did add 3 more tsp of fennel to the 6 lbs mix, as we like it alot.
     
    Man we all love it. The neighbors came over and tried it. Didn't tell them it was venison and they ate it all up. After I told them they couldn't believe it, and then took some home.
     
    Thanks Alton
    Nice simple recipe..the way Italian sausage should be, but grinding it fine? I would argue that it should be ground course....Twice !! And the meat should be kept as cold as possible thru the process. And collagen casings???? My grandfather would turn over! You can get probably get salted hog casings at your local supermarket or specialty store.Just soak and rinse well.
    Great recipe Alton. Pork shoulder was on sale for $.99 a lb this week Made some incredible Italian Sausage. Thanks for giving me the confidence to do it. I'm already hunting for my next sausage recipe. Looking like Greek loukaniko.
    Very tasty AB! I thinned it out a little by adding more pork to the mix. I ended up making five pounds of sausage by doubling the spice recipe. Again, very tasty and easy to do.
    I have really had a lot of fun with both of Mr. Brown's sausage recipes. This one worked well in a lighter dish combined with other main ingredients of: pine nuts, and olive oil over pasta. The tips and techniques shown on the TV show helped a lot (especially when it came to grinding the meat without a lot of hassle.)
     

     
    I made this recipe as written on this site and have also modified it by changing herbs and spices to suit different regional dishes from Italy. (The other reviewer is correct in noting that herbs and spices are quite diverse and also can be region-specific. See the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry's list of officially recognized foods by region.)
     

     
    To the person who says this is not authentic Italian sausage and to everyone-Italy has many many different regions that traditionally were all isolated from each other, and even over the next hill the next village would do things differently. There are literally hundreds of "authentic" Italian sausage recipes and each one can be slightly different. There is no right or wrong in cooking either. If you want to add or subtract a spice or flavor, try it. Don't be afraid to experiment. Also, the best way to cook Italian sausage to get the flavors to melt together is to cook it slow on low heat in the oven with just a little water in the pan. It's like slow roasting the chunks of meat in the sausage, same as doing a roast. Low heat so it doesn't dry out, slow so the fat can melt into the sausage and your flavors will come together. Don't let anyone tell you any cooking you do is "wrong" so long as it tastes good in the end.
    I use this recipe as a base for making Italian sausage. If I forget to make it early, I just double the spice and it turns out wonderfully. I've also been known to throw in some garlic powder with it. Yum! We use it ground for spaghetti and lasagna, so I've never bothered putting it into castings.
    I used this as the baseline for making my first sausage using a kitchenaid meat grinder and sausage attachment. The recipe was a great baseline for making a good sausage. However, there is a bit too much parsley, and way too little seasoning. This may be a theme with Alton's stuff.
     

     
    I am a HUGE fan of Alton's recipes. The gyros on the grill rotisserie is a revelation. However, just like that one, this one (if you go by the measurements) is way underseasoned. It needs more salt. And why not some garlic powder? Maybe some cayenne? Anyway, I added a bunch of additional seasoning and they turned out GREAT. The fennel seasoning was dead on, so follow that. Other than that, add some character. If you're going to spend hours in the kitchen making sausage, make it worth it. You can get plain stuff at the grocer.
     

     
    I added some mozz chunks in one, red wine in another, and white truffle salt in another. They were not terribly different, but all good.
     

     
    All in all this is a solid baseline, but use it to get creative!
    I'm wondering if the people complaining that it doesn't have enough flavor aren't letting the spices sit with the meat long enough. I combined the cut meat with the seasonings the night before, then did the grinding and let the meat sit for 2 more hours before forming into patties and grilling. Half the meat I did add 1/2-1 Tblsp of red pepper flakes, which added a nice kick, but the rest still had good sweet Italian flavor. All of these flavors only get better with time, so don't skimp on that!
    I made this for my wife and she loved it. Not only did she love it, she asked me to make more. My wife does not like sausage at all and it was a battle to get her to try it, but after she did it was all over. This is a mild sausage, does not have a strong sausage flavor, but you know it is when eating it. The next step is to add a few of my own flavors.
    try it and it works perfect.
     

     
    thanks
    Proper Italian sausage seasonings are salt & pepper, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and fennel seeds. You can get creative all you want with parsley, paprika, etc, but its no longer Italian sausage. You can leave out the cayenne and pepper flakes, if desired.
     

     
    Please don't boil an Italian sausage! This isn't a Kielbasa. Grill it or saute it as in sausage & peppers. Keep it simple.
    Found this recipe to be neat, clean, consise. Sausage turned out very well. Tweeked it a little to suit my family's needs and tastes. Would recommend to anyone.
    I needed a kosher alternative for a traditional ragu recipe and found this to be just the ticket. Using turkey sausage, I was able to replicate a fabulous mock with all the wonderful flavors of a traditional sweet sausage. I found the seasongings to be perfectly balanced with proper toasting and grinding. Highly recommend this to anyone!
    Very Good Basic recipe for italian style (Sweet) sausage. If you like
     
    HOT sausage, you'll need to spice it up. The salt and pepper ratio was great. I made this as a topping for pizza and sprinkled some on top of the sauce and on top of the cheese (finely crumbled). Everyone loved it including my mother-in-law and my wife (who is a self proclaimed pork-hater). Could be more elaborate I guess, but a nice basic flavor profile to start with. Same episode shows a breakfast sausage which looks like it has more aggressive flavoring but I haven't tried yet.
    I am sooooo glad that I have finally found a guideline for making my own sausage.... but there is not enough seasoning in this recipe. I tasted before I stuffed and this definitely needs more fennel seed; also, I would recommend (after many tasters!) red pepper flakes (crushed in hands), oregano, more salt/pepper, some sweet paprika.
     
    Overall, I'mm glad I had a baseline for doing my own sausage, but if you are looking for a full-flavored Italian, this is not it.
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    Make It 5 Ways: Sausage