Cooking Italian Sausage in Sauce
I seem to remember my grandmother cutting up raw italian sweet and hot sausages and throwing them in a pot of bubbling marinara sauce but am not sure if this is ok to do. Should I cook the sausage first and then cut them and add them to the sauce or can I throw them in raw and cook for a few hours in sauce?? Thanks!
I don't see any reason you couldn't do that but I'd take the few extra minutes to brown them in the beginning of the sauce making process. I usually remove the uncooked sausage from the casings and then brown it but I've also sliced it and then browned. BTW, except for Bolognese, I never cook a sauce for hours.
Browning them first will add another layer of flavor but it is perfectly acceptable to put raw sausage into marinara if they are given sufficient cooking time. If you do choose to brown the sausage I would deglaze the pan with red wine and then add the reduction to the sauce.
A couple of weeks ago jfood was lazy (therefore no browning and no grease splatters). Bought some fennel sausage, cut into pieces, threw them into some simmering sauce and did some work for 45 minutes. Fantastic.
My go-to meatball recipe cooks onions, adds them to the meat mixture, and tosses the raw meat mixture (with onion and seasoning) into the sauce, for about an hour. I've certainly done Italian sausages this way, but if you're going to do it, you want sausages that are a little leaner than the kind you fry up with peppers, else the grease floats to the top of the sauce (I love it, but some "low-fat" people freak out when they see all the grease).
The result of cooking these minced meats without browning, in the sauce? A softer, lovely product that's tender (in the case of the meatballs we spread 'em on our Italian bread like pate).
Just make sure the sauce is simmering constantly, that you cook pork products thoroughly, and give 'em a turn once in a while so they don't stick or burn up some of the sauce.