Top that Pie: Fresh Italian Sausage

Make the perfect topping for your pizza.

23rd Feb 2009 Nick Kindelsperger


For the sausage novices, nothing could be quite so easy as this recipe from Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie.  Because I was using it straight away I had no need to stuff it into casing only break them free a moment a latter.  I essentially just mixed everything together, ground it on the small die of my meat grinder, and cooked it.  It was about as time consuming as cutting up a bunch of vegetables.  And since I controlled the seasoning, it was rich, herbal, slightly spicy and utterly delicious.  It's so flavorful, I only needed a sprinkling on each pie.  So it never tasted weighty and greasy.

This recipe is for far more sausage then you'll need.  But you'll want extra.  It's a great addition to many other dishes .  I immediately froze a bunch to keep around when the next pangs for sausage pizza hits.

Spicy Italian Sausage


  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, quickly toasted
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons ice water
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


Dice the meat into 1/2 inch cubes or so.  Toss in a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients except the water and red wine vinegar.  Set in the freezer for 20 minutes or so to get real cold.


Grind the meat through the smallest die.


Transfer the ground meat to the large bowl in the Kitchen Aid.  Hook in the paddle attachment.  Pour in the water and red wine vinegar and turn on the paddle.  Mix for about 1 minute on medium.

To cook, add a little bit of canola oil to a large skillet set over medium heat.  Then add as much sausage as you want and cook until no longer pink.  Drain on paper towel.


Sprinkle on top of a pizza.  If you need help with homemade pizzas, check out these posts:

The Pizza Hack: Broil Your Pies
A Night of Broiled Pizzas So Hot, Things Shattered



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