Our Italian Kitchen Table

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History of the Italian Sausage

We take a look at the best sausages Italy has to offer  


Sausages are widely used in Italian cuisine, both as a main ingredient and as a flavor enhancer to lift dishes. It’s the versatility of the meat that makes it such a popular choice; sausages are either grilled or served with a bean stew or cooked fennel, used to top pizza, stirred into pasta or served simply with a creamy polenta. There are many different regional dishes which use sausage; from Gramigna in Bologna, a special kind of pasta served with sausages and cream, to Tastasa, a rice and sausage dish popular in Verona.

Italian sausages are typically made from pork and seasoned with fennel and spices. It’s thought that they were first made in the ancient district of Lucania, southern Italy. It is believed these sausages were introduced to Ancient Rome by Lucan slaves or troops. The Ancient Romans loved their exquisite flavour and how easy it was to transport and store them.

Here are some of the most popular sausage variants:

‘Nduja A spicy spreadable pork sausage from Calabria; made using meat from the pig’s head and throat, ‘Nduja is used widely in Calabrian cooking as a base for stews.

Salsiccia Napoletana (Neapolitan sausage) A lightly smoked sausage traditionally made in Campania, Salsiccia Napoletana comes in two varieties – dolce (mild) and piccante (hot). Regularly used on top of a pizza or to compliment a pasta dish. 

Salama da sugo Salama da sugo is made from minced pork with red wine, cinnamon and cloves. From Ferrara in the Emilia-Romagna region, it is aged for about a year, giving it a strong flavour.  Try with some mash potato for a classic bangers and mash dish – Italian style!

Salsiccia al finocchio (sausage with fennel). A dry-cured salami sausage popular in Tuscany and Sardinia. The sausage is cured for a year and has a distinctive fennel seed flavour.

Salsiccia luganega Typically made with the neck or cheek of the pig predominantly in the northern regions of Italy. Seasoned with pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and coriander.

Salsiccia di Norcia The city of Norcia is the most renowned in Italy for it’s variety of sausages produced. Budellaccio de Norcia is flavoured with fennel seeds and grilled giving a charred flavour. Corallina de Norcia is aged over a number of months whilst garlic flavours infuse into the sausage. 


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