On the Virtues of Italian Sausage and the Almighty Pig


(photo: diced up and waiting for the pan!)

UPDATE: 4/2/10 Annelle Williams is the winner!  Contest is now closed!

I’ve written on virtues of salumi, but to my surprise I haven’t waxed philosophically on sausage – that other ideal representation of the almighty pig.
Italian Sausage, as it’s referenced in the States, is often grilled, used in stuffings, soups and pasta.  I’ve prepared sausage with soft polenta during harsh winters, crumbled it for use in afternoon frittatas, and grilled a few links on the barbecue for use as a sandwich with some good pane Pugliese .  
Happy Pigs
Mass produced sausage (pork in general) will turn away even the most dyed in the wool pig lovers, but when sausage is done right, with an ideal combination of salt, spices, natural casing and, of course, well raised pigs, it’s an incredible food product.  Pork from the Berkshire region of New England is very good (given the manner in which the pigs are raised and treated) as are other smaller producers along the east coast.  The Italians take their pork seriously and much of it is still produced on small, local, farms where the pigs eat and live like kings (on Nonno Latella’s farm in Calabria his pigs often held special status, receiving extra special attention when it came to food and, no pun intended, creature comforts>).
I often stay away from supermarket sausage simply because it tastes bad, however I’ve come across product from Nieman Ranch which I thought was quite good but a bit expensive.   I think the high cost is directly correlated to the high standards on the farms producing pork for Nieman Ranch brand (click here to read the standards documentation for their pigs are raised ).  
Creminelli, in addition to producing salumi, also produces seven varieties of pork sausage.  I had the pleasure of tasting three of their varieties (pesto, piccante, and porcini) and like the sweet Italian sausage from Niman Ranch, the end product had a higher fat content (in a good way), top quality spices, natural casing, and, overall, oozed with real pork flavor.  Piccante was my favorite variety and it had just the right amount of spice (that is to say, I could taste both the Pepperoncini and pork).  Creminelli uses pork from animals that have a diet of white grains and whey with no antibiotics or other synthetic feeds. 
Gourmet Sausage Giveaway
Given my love of pork and closely associated belief in raising animals in the correct manner before they reach out tables, I’m offering a sausage giveaway in partnership with Creminelli including 1 pound each of piccante, pesto, and porcini Creminelli sausage).  As usual you can find the contest rules below and I hope you take a minute to enter so that we can all move away from eating supermarket sausage! 
– 1. leave a comment under this post on your favorite sausage recipe (doesn’t need to be a fancy or an authentic Italian recipe, just how you like to eat sausage), 2. “share” the Scordo.com on Facebook here fan page on your profile (you can do this by going to any article on the Scordo Facebook fan page and clicking share at the bottom of the entry) and 3., sign up for the Creminelli Facebook Fan Page.  

– You can also sign up for the Scordo.com newsletter and follow us on Twitter if you’d like, but it’s not a requirement).

– Only one entry per person please and the winner must be US based (sorry to all my Italian fans!).
– The contest is open until 12 midnight on 4/1 and a single random user will be picked via Random.org.  The winner will be announced immediately on Twitter (so please follow me) and on Scordo.com by 5PM on Friday, 4/2.
– Please use a valid email address when leaving a comment so I can contact you just in case you’re the lucky winner (I’ll need your shipping address). 
– Creminelli will send out the sausage to a single contest winner during the week of 4/5.


  1. I love sausage on pizza, but my favorite is spicy sausage, pan cooked in a little olive oil, and served over parmesan polenta.

  2. I shared the frugality article on FB, and friended Creminelli… if you didn’t get my first comment, I love sausage on pizza, but my fave is spicy sausage pan cooked in a little olive oil and served over parmesan polenta.

  3. I love sausage on pizza, layered between polenta with lots of cheese, cooked whole with peppers & onions, in stuffing for a turkey, or as an addition to pasta sauce!

  4. I use Italian sausage in so many recipes, but my favorite is Ribollita with Italian Sausage!

  5. I love great sausage with pasta and broccoli rape!I prefer orrecchiete pasta with that!

  6. i like to cook it in a cast iron pan then saute peppers and onions with some fresh basil, oregano, hot peppers and garlic then serve it with a nice crusty italian bread.

  7. I love any type of soup with italian sausage…especially bean.

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