How to Make Hot Italian Sausage

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Sausage is one of those things that most people would rather not know how to make. Unless you are like me, and won’t eat it unless you know EXACTLY how it is made.

When I first married into an Italian Catholic family, I thought it was downright weird that they would wait to go to church at midnight, Christmas Eve, so that they could come home in the middle of the night and eat sausage. (I grew up with the tradition that you sleep through the night and wake up early and have sausage for breakfast.) I am sure I don’t understand the nuances of Catholicism and never will…but I do understand that sausage—especially Italian sausage—is delicious. So this is where the Catholics and the Pagans unite.

Fortunately, Mrs. Cinquino was willing to share her father’s sausage recipe with her Pagan daughter-in-law. And now I’m going to share it with you…perhaps slightly altered (for instance, I don’t stuff it into pig intestines—I just make it into patties). It’s really pretty easy, and this is a giant vat of a recipe that makes enough to freeze for all winter (just make it into patties and put it in Ziploc bags and freeze). The original recipe calls for 24 pounds of meat! This one only calls for 7 pounds. If you want to make it smaller, I’m sorry, but you’ll either have to do the math yourself or call my kids.

This recipe is for HOT Italian sausage. If you want it “sweet,” just remove the pepper and cayenne.

Hot Italian Sausage


  • 5 lbs. fresh organic ground pork
  • 2 lbs. fresh organic ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons fennel seed (or 1 Tablespoon seed and a handful of chopped fresh fennel greens)
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped, or 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup Romano cheese


1. Put all these ingredients into a giant bowl and mix with your hands until everything’s all mixed together.

2. Cook or freeze!

This is great served in a bun like a burger (with roasted and fried green peppers!), crumbled up and cooked in tomato sauce for any Italian delicacies like spaghetti, pizza or lasagna or however you want to use sausage.


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11 Responses to How to Make Hot Italian Sausage

  1. Kathi Robinson December 6, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    Many people with food allergies must make their food from scratch to guarantee their safety because of hidden ingredients inside a pre-packed or processed food item.

    This type of recipe therefore gives them a feeling of comfort because they can now enjoy some of the same types of foods which create so many problems for them from a regular store.

    For many other suggestions and recipe selections, please check at

  2. Adele December 7, 2010 at 5:55 am #

    Hi Maria,

    This looks great! I can’t wait to try it out. I live in India and it’s difficult to find Italian sausage here.

    In case I can’t find Romano cheese, is there anything I could use instead?

  3. maria (farm country kitchen) December 7, 2010 at 9:15 am #

    I’m sure you could use parmesan cheese or any other salty, dense cheese. Good luck!

  4. Karl Wilder December 8, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    This appears to be WAY under seasoned for the amount of meat. Is this a particularly bland sausage. I have recipes for Italian sausage and for 10 lbs of meat it gets 1/4 cup of cayenne and 2 cups of fennel.

  5. Maria (farm country kitchen) December 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    Go right ahead and season away!!!!! I love it hot and fennely!

  6. Tony April 4, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Maria! The name brings fond memories of “The Sound of Music”

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. While I was reading it and trying to use gustatory sense to get an insight to the flavor balance, I came to the same conclusion that Karl did, but for a different reason. While I have tried, many times many times before, to replicate a fine sausage, I have not been successful with the balance. Balance is often the reason for an underimpressive product.

    My need arises for an essential need to keep from elevating my plasma lipid profile. So, I always use the loin of pork and top round beef. I trim them until no fat is visible, and sprinkle the chunks generously with extra virgin olive oil before grinding the meat. I mix the seasonings, and sprinkle them over the meat chunks and combine them well before grinding. Grinding the seasonings with the meat infuses the flavors more thoroughly. In the case of flavorful seeds, however, it will probably require an adjustment to the amount of fennel seed. There is a high ratio of oil to solids in fennel seed, so it would be easy to exceed a reasonable amount of fennel.

    I am looking forward to trying the recipe as it is for two pounds of meat, and an appropriate ratio of seasoning. The only change I will make is to use Morton “Lite Salt” because it is formulated to have ratio of sodium to potassium, which which is stoichiometrically proportional to optimum blood plasma for these ions. This should make it less likely spike blood pressure.

  7. MaryAnn Jackman June 19, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    This is delicious! I tried it with ground turkey instead of pork and all I can say is wow! I added some wine, and slightly more fennel seed. I have been looking for a good Italian Sausage recipe for years. Thank you!

  8. PJBRUNO December 8, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    NOT ITALIAN!!!!!! No self respecting Italian would make sausage without ample amounts of GARLIC! Also adding a decent white wine (1 cup) and onion powder will round out the flavors.

  9. Marlin April 2, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    I made a variation of this using ground turkey and ground pork. I used four lbs of ground turkey and 1 lb of ground pork. I added the amount of spices recommended for the 7 lb recipe and substituted parmesan for romano. Typically, my wife doesn’t like food as spicy as I do but we both loved this.

    We really like sausage but we are trying keep a low fat, low calorie diet. This should help and we both think that it’s better than any Italian sausage that we’ve ever had before. We cooked off a couple of small patties on a cast iron skillet (without oil or non-stick spray) before packaging and freezing the sausage to be certain that the seasoning was right. There was no grease run off such as you would have with pure pork or beef yet the patties cooked up moist and tasty.

    Thanks much for the base recipe to spin this off of!

  10. Russ Smith September 10, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    Hi Maria, I’m a big game hunter of Antelope, Deer & Elk I’d like to know how much pork fat I should add per lb of meat. The wild game on its own is very lean and really no fat in it. Please let me know.

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