How to make sweet Italian sausages at home.
I recommend a Kitchen Aid blender with a meat grinder and sausage stuffer attachments. If you are going to make different types of sausage or just make Italian sausage a lot, you will need to have durable equipment. You should also have coarse and fine dies to grind the meat (comes with the meat grinder attachment).
Kitchen Aid with meat grinding attachment.
Kitchen Aid with sausage stuffing attachment.
Ingredients (about 15 to 20 links depending on the width):
- 5 pounds – boneless Boston butt (pork shoulder – in this case butt refers to the shoulder)
- 5 cloves – garlic, minced
- 1 cup – fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 5 teaspoons – salt
- 1 tablespoon – black pepper
- 5 tablespoons – fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon – red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon – fresh rosemary, diced
- ½ tablespoon – fresh oregano, diced
- 1 tablespoon – fresh basil, diced
- 1 cup – dry white wine (e.g., chardonnay), very cold
- 12 to 16 feet (approximately) – hog casing (cleaned pig intestine)
One of the secrets to cooking fine Italian sausage is making sure you use fresh spices. It is also crucial not to make the sausage too lean. The butt is perfect, because it will contain a fair percentage of fat necessary for genuine Italian sausage. However, I like to trim away large chunks of fat that may exist in the meat (for my health).
It is also important to get the meat cold before you put it in the grinder (it helps it move through the grinder better). Cut the pork up into 1 to 2 inch cubes and then place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Set up the grinder with the coarse die (see photo).
Coarse die for meat grinder
When the meat is cold, begin running it through the grinder (medium setting – I use setting 4 on my Kitchen Aid). Let the grinder do the work – in other words, don’t force the meat through. Gristle may clog the grinder, but don’t get dismayed. Simply clean the die and blade and finish grinding the rest of the meat.
Add the spices and wine to the ground meat. It is crucial to get the wine very cold before using it. I suggest you put the wine in the freezer for at least 15 minutes prior to adding it to the sausage mixture. Mix the ingredients thoroughly with your hands.
Spices and wine mixed with coarse ground meat.
Place the mixture in the freezer for another 30 minutes while you prepare the grinder with the fine die. Once the mixture of spices and meat is cold, begin grinding it again. This helps to mix the spices and meat. Once you have completed the final grinding, it is best if you let the mixture sit in the refrigerator over night to absorb the spices.
Finely ground meat and spices with fine grinder.
Fine ground sausage with spices and wine.
Prepare the sausage stuffer.
Find the end of one of the hog casings (the longest casing if you can) and put a little water in the end. This will let it slip onto the cone (use the larger of the two cones – see photo).
Starting to thread casing on cone.
Threading the casing on the cone.
Thread the casing all the way on the cone so that meat can come freely out of the cone. Let some meat come through and then pull the end of the casing off the cone and tie it (this keeps air from going into the casing.
Tying off the end so no air is trapped before the meat goes in (note the casing on the cone to the left).
The rest is just allowing the meat to run through the cone until you fill the casing.
Sausage going through the stuffer.
It takes some practice, because air bubbles can form or the casing can break. If you get an air bubble just puncture it with a toothpick and force the air out. If the casing breaks you can tie off the end and start a new casing. I like wide sausage (see photo), but you can make them thinner if you prefer.
After the sausage has been stuffed.
Once the casings are filled, you can go about every 6 inches and form each link by twisting the casing.
Twisting the links.
You can freeze the sausage for months if you wish to store them.
Jack Botticelli – You can read more Italian recipes here
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