Homemade Sausage: Just Grind It Out

I'm a huge sausage lover. I grew up on Hebrew National salami and grilled Dodger dogs in L.A., continued with Sabrett and Nathan's street hot dogs in New York, and eventually graduated to Italian soppressata, coppa and other salumi.

But would I make them at home? Well, I've pretty much decided to forego making cured sausages, although there are many home cooks who do it successfully, thanks to various classes and terrific instructional books like those by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn, Rytek Kutas and Bruce Aidells.

But fresh sausage? Absolutely. Especially after a couple of sessions with Cucina Urbana executive chef Joe Magnanelli. Magnanelli is himself self-taught with cured sausages. He is thoroughly grounded in technique, plus he's got great equipment to help ensure that the curing process results in both delicious and safe salumi.

Magnanelli taught me his technique earlier this year as he was preparing a batch of saucisson sec, a traditional French salami, for his April 6 Beast Feast dinner, which will feature pork.

Knowing, however, that I wanted to learn how to make a fresh sausage, Magnanelli demonstrated how a home cook could do it — and it's pretty easy. You could buy equipment to help you case the sausage, but you don't have to. In fact, here we have recipes for sausage patties for a delightful eggy breakfast sandwich and for a pasta dish.

Find more details and Magnanelli's sausage recipe on The San Diego Union-Tribune's site here.