While Italy is famous for lots of kinds of sausages, it is most common that Americans only consider one kind of sausage as "Italian" sausage. It is a sausage that is made of pork and can range in flavor from mild to hot. The distinctive taste of this sausage has to do with the fennel seeds in it. Often, when Italian sausage is hot, it is from the flakes of red pepper that have been added to it. For Italian sausage to be correct, you need to have the right simple ingredients. Most people don't make this kind of sausage, but if you choose to, you will need pork meat that has been finely chopped up, pork fat, nitrates, fennel, and salt and pepper. This kind of sausage is usually about three or four inches long and is about a half inch to one inch around. All ingredients are mixed and put into the casings to help them stay together while the sausage is cooking.
Italian sausage can be found being served in many different ways, whether it's in sandwiches with grilled onions and bell peppers, or in one of the many popular recipes. One way to use this sausage is to cook it lightly and add to a marinara sauce, for a rich and spicy flavored sauce. Italian sausage also works well as a breakfast sausage combined with eggs and hash browns. When using for breakfast, consider one or two sausages per person.
While lots of people love this spicy sausage filled with flakes of red pepper, some people like to eat the milder sausage instead. The mild Italian sausage is sweeter and mellow, but still has a rich flavoring that has the taste of anise. Consider choosing mild Italian sausages when you are planning to serve to many people because some people don't like spicy sausage and it can be hard to tell which one is which when it's cooked.
Italian cooking sausage is essential. Most kinds of Italian sausage are completely uncooked, so you will have to make sure that they are totally done before you serve them. If you're not certain that the middle of the sausage is done, you should boil them. Drop in water and boil for about ten minutes before you grill or fry them. Italian sausage that's being used sliced should be pre-cooked because if you cut raw sausage out of the casing, you'll find that it quickly falls apart.
While Italian sausage is flavorful, it does contain pork fat and it might not be the best choice if you're trying to eat low cholesterol meals. In fact, Italian sausage is high in fat and not good if you're dieting. However, if you must have this kind of sausage, you might find that simply adding a few sliced ones to the sauce of a large meal will be sufficient for flavoring your dish. You might also want to consider using only a couple of real Italian sausages and also adding a lean meat such as ground turkey or chicken. You'll still have the rich Italian sausage flavoring, but will lower the fat content.