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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Meatball Sub with Homemade Sicilian Sausage




From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...We raised our children in a community that had a small Italian conclave. We lived in the area for several years before I even knew it was there. I happened on it following an article I'd read about a procession being held by the congregation of the church which was the cornerstone of this community. I've always been fascinated by the process that leads to the assimilation of immigrant populations and was intrigued that a group of people in a community so urbane and close to New York City still held to the old ways. I attended the procession and watched a group of mostly elderly people march, barefoot, in a procession on a very hot day to honor the patron saint of their church. It's hard not to be touched by this kind of devotion. I decided to walk through the area to better acquaint myself with the community and the folks who lived here. I turned off the artery on which the church was located to find myself on what should have been a small quiet street. It was neither. It was a lined on both sides by small family businesses that appeared to be thriving. There were several delis, a pork store, some restaurants and a large bakery. You knew immediately that you were in a miniature version of Little Italy. Similar Jewish communities are marked by the aroma of pastrami and dill. Here the air was redolent with cheese and salami and the mind numbing fragrance of bread baking in basement ovens. I fell in love immediately and it was here that I eventually learned about the regional sausages of Italy. Many years before this, I had tasted fresh sausage made in the kitchen of Mama S. Her sausage was wonderful but what I sampled here had gorgeous flecked color and a taste of fennel and cheese that, once tasted, would never be forgotten. It was here that I learned how to make Sicilian sausage. It's very easy to do if you're willing to forego casings. I forgo casings. I usually keep a supply of Sicilian sausage in my freezer. We use it for subs, pasta and pizza. Today's recipe is really for sausage, but before I get into that, I want to tell you about the sub sandwich in the picture. It starts with a wonderful, lightly toasted roll that has been hollowed out to hold the meatballs. The meatballs are covered with a spicy marinara or puttanesca sauce and then topped with grated provolone before being given a quick turn under the broiler to melt the cheese. One bite of this sub will take you to Mount Etna. The secret is the meatballs. The secret to the meatballs is fennel. Here's the recipe.

Sicilian Sausage ...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

Ingredients:

2-1/2 pounds coarsely ground pork butt
1 cup Romano cheese
1/2 cup red wine
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fennel seed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped yellow pepper
1 small bunch Italian parsley, chopped

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Form into meatballs using a tablespoon or scoop. Sausage may also be formed into patties. Yield: 36 meatballs.

34 comments :

Debinhawaii said...

Mmm...that sandwich is making my mouth water. I love sausage!

Chef E said...

Oh Mary, that has my name written all over it! Meatballs, sausage, sauce, are a few of my weaknesses! Moving to New Jersey where so many Italian places exist I have grown to love sausage anything!

A Year on the Grill said...

This is a great post... Those neighborhoods are shrinking fast. We will lose so much. Here in KC, there was recently an article in the paper about such a community. two restaurants and a bakery are all that are left of 30 businesses that once serviced the families.

ButterYum said...

Fantastic!!! I have some unseasoned ground pork in the freezer waiting to be used. Thanks so much Mary!

:)
ButterYum

Martha said...

Mary -- it's six o clock in the morning and you have my mouth watering!

Lea Ann said...

This looks FABULOUS. I've been wanting to make a meatball sandwich and this is the recipe I'm going to use.

Hootin' Anni said...

Rubbing my belly.....Mmmmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm, good!!!!

Mermaids of the Lake said...

That looks amazing! OH, YUM!

Susan said...

Mary, we can't wait to try this sausage recipe. We love fennel and even in Italy, we were disappointed that the fennel was not as pronounced as we liked. Once, in a small town in Indiana, we found an Italian grocer who made his own sausage, and it was the BEST!

George Gaston said...

Mary, what a great sausage recipe to have. And your Meatball Sub is marvelous, too. I bet this sausage can be used in so many different ways.

I are so right about small communities making up the backbone of a town or city. When I lived in St. Louis, I'd wander down to communities like you describe to experience their culture & their incredible food. Thanks for a wonderful story leading into your terrific recipe.

Nancy @ La Chambre Rose said...

Mary, thank you so much for stopping by my site.

My husband's mother was second generation Sicilian and his father Neapolitan. We grew up in Rome, New York. There were enough Italian immigrants to ultimately change the name of an old New York city from Lynchville to Rome. Although I am just about pure English, I did grow up with the language, cooking, and pastries from their old country.

I did not know my husband's grandparents, but I am forever searching for good Italian recipes, Sicilian in particular, (his mother, not so much a cook).

Okay, off to look for cookies.

maiaT said...

This looks very tasty. Here I always find something special and yummy . Thank you Mary for the great recipe.
Have a nice Sunday!

Claudia said...

Oh I do love a good meatball hero - the addition of sausage? Delicious! I will be thinking about i all day.

lk (Healthy Delicious) said...

deeeeeeeelicious! I love to hollow out my bread like that too - hate when my subs are to bready

Katy ~ said...

This is why I love bloggers so much - keeping the food history and heritage alive so others may enjoy, with so many small business leaving under the pressures of big business and their lower prices (and often lower quality, but people are willing to give up quality for price, I fear). A horrible run on sentence, but I think it's understandable, grins.

Barbara Jean said...

Mary,
You have such a wonderful cooking blog.

And how sweet of you to visit me often, when i have no wonderful recipes to share.

Thanks you for coming by and for all your sweet comments.

blessings

barbara jean

Anonymous said...

Mary - this recipe is right up my alley (though sadly, there are no alleys or ethnic markets here in the burbs). I'm wondering if you grind your own pork. I've heard you could chop it in a food processor - would that work?

Martha in KS

Mary said...

Martha in KS....I do grind my own pork. I have an old hand crank grinder that is attached to the counter with a large suction cup. You can use a food processor but you won't get the texture you're used to having in a sausage. Have your butcher do it for you.

CC said...

You've done it again Mary..this is so mouthwatering..I must have some sausages. You know, it's a shame that so many of the small communities such as these are disappearing. Somehow, we must find a way to keep them going..because once gone..that will be all.
I hope you come visit my humble shared cooking blog..it's : sueskitchen.blogspot.com.

Baking Monster said...

The sub looks terrific.and mary I wanted to say that I really appricate your blog and all your doing.

Leann said...

Oh Mary

What a wonderfully delicious looking sub and recipe. I have a big pot of vegi soup simmering for our dinner, but would love one of those subs instead!

Thanks for visiting!
Leann

MercedesLouise said...

Hi Mary,
Thanks for dropping by my blog; I wanted to look at yours. I love cooking and baking and I have now found your site and found heaven!!! I love Sicilian food.

girlichef said...

oh my gosh, yum! How did you know I've been craving meatball subs lately? I love fennel in my Italian Sausage, so I'm sure I'd love this! I'm definitely going to give these a try :)

Lori said...

Talk about flavorful meatballs. These sound delicious Mary.

Velva said...

Mary, your meatball recipe is brought to a new level just by story you told about the small vibrant Ialian community that was just around the corner from you.
So, the secret to making great sausage is in the fennel? I am going to remember that.

Vicki said...

Hi, Mary,
Oh that looks so delicious!! I so enjoyed learning about your introduction into the Italian community where you lived. It must have been fascinating to learn about their customs and cooking. Thanks for sharing with us! Blessings to you! Vicki

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Since I am married to a native born Italian I have learned to cook many Italian specialties, Mary. My mouth was watering reading your description of your sandwich. I never made meatballs from sausage meat, only ground beef and pork, but since we enjoy sausage and peppers cooked together I'm sure meatballs made form both taste divine!

Olga said...

just a few days ago I was thinking about getting a meatball sandwich in Subway. I did not. Your looks a zillion times better!

theUngourmet said...

I loved the story, I can almost picture that street in my mind. Your meatballs look like they are tucked in a cozy inside their bread bed! :D

free online adventure games said...

I love the little story you had before the recipe. It's a wonderful reminder of the vast array of cultures and peoples that are around us that we often overlook if we don't stop in the midst of our busy schedules.

Love the simple recipe you have too. It's amazing how a little herb and spice can do wonders to a dish. Do you happen to have a simple marinara or puttanesca sauce recipe too?

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Onto my growing list of things I must try to make, this is one of them...homemade sausage. You made it sound easy enough-- the end result is amazing! So tasty looking that I can almost visualize the flavor. I'm whimpering...

Susan said...

Just finished baking up a batch of these fantastic meatballs. The smell is unbelievable. We have been nibbling....The rest have gone into the freezer to be enjoyed later. Thank you so much. The fennel is perfect, but perhaps I will add just a dash more next time ;)

My Little Space said...

You're lucky to have someone tought you this kind yummy recipe. It's priceless!

pigpigscorner said...

I'm drooling all over that sub! Looks GORGEOUS!

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