Learn all about the meaning and the customs of the Italian Salsiccia. This flavorful sausage is a staple of Italian cuisine and can be found in many dishes.
What is Salsiccia?
Salsiccia is a type of Italian sausage made from ground or chopped pork, beef, veal, and/or other meats blended with spices such as garlic, salt, pepper, fennel seed, nutmeg and/or other ingredients. The mixture is then encased in either an edible natural casing or stuffed into a synthetic sausage casing.
It varies by region, but it is commonly pronounced as “sal-SEE-cha.”
How to use salsiccia?
Salsiccia is a popular ingredient in many Italian dishes, such as pasta with salsiccia and beans, pizza, lasagna, omelets and risotto. It is often cooked by grilling or frying the sausages whole over medium heat until they are golden brown and cooked through.
Northern Italy salsiccia customs
In the northern Italian region, these sausages are infused with a tasteful combination of pepper, cinnamon, white wine, and garlic.
Southern Italy salsiccia customs
Down south, their tradition is to add flavorful touches such as fennel, garlic, chili pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, and caciocavallo cheese that will tantalize your taste buds. The Calabrese salsiccia is a spicy version with extra herbs and spices that you will find in many stores. It got DOP certified in 1998.
In Italy, salsiccia is considered an essential component of the traditional Italian meal. It is served as a second course or antipasto and often enjoyed with fresh crusty bread and wine.
How to cook salsiccia?
First, you should pierce the sausage with a toothpick or a sharp knife to allow the fat to escape. This prevents it from bursting when cooked and helps the sausage keep its shape and texture. Make sure that the holes are about an inch apart (don't use a fork)
How to serve salsiccia?
Salsiccia can be served in a variety of ways, depending on how it is prepared and cooked. It can be served as part of an antipasto platter, grilled or fried and added to pasta dishes, put into soups or stews, used as a pizza topping or even formed into patties for burgers.
The best way is to grill it since this will allow the flavors of the spices and herbs to come out perfectly. It can also be pan roasted or baked. In Lombardy, salsiccia is served as a main course with cabbage or spinach (luganiga). In Tuscany and Naples, it is best grilled with greens like broccoli. It can be cooked in a nice red sauce served with polenta, or even served in sandwiches with a splash of olive oil.
How to store salsiccia?
Salsiccia should be kept refrigerated and can last up to a week. It can also be frozen for up to six months, but make sure it is wrapped tightly in plastic before freezing. When you are ready to cook the sausage, let it thaw slowly in the refrigerator overnight.
No matter how you choose to prepare it, salsiccia will always be a delicious and flavorful addition to any meal. So don’t be afraid to give this Italian delicacy a try! Buon appetito!