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The Best Sausages in Umbria

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April 23, 2014 / Italian / By
Anna

Just around the corner from my house in Bevagna is a great butcher shop. The village serves a large rural area, so we in fact have two butchers. But I frequent the one near me, partly because the lovely young couple that run it are related to one of my neighbors, partly because it is less than one standard city block away and they know me by name, but mostly because their meat is excellent. In fact, it is so popular that people come from as far away as Rome, about an hour and half’s drive, to buy certain products.

When I have visitors from other countries, I always send them to the butchers just for a look. Various meats wrapped in brown paper hang from the ceiling. There is a bench to sit on because you might have to wait while each customer is given their due amount of attention. There are cheeses, salamis, packets of pancetta, and in summer, a large roll of porchetta.In fact, Marco and Rosita's porchetta featured in a New York Times food article recently.

Porchetta is another topic altogether, and a must try anywhere in Italy. For as little as €2.50, you can buy porchetta e pane, which is porchetta, lots of it, in a white bread bun, crusty on the outside and fluffy inside. There is no butter or oil on the bread, but there is pork fat in the meat and sometimes stuffing made with pigs’ liver. It is impossible to eat more than one. There's always plenty of thickly sliced meat and the bread keeps you chewing for 15 minutes or so.

But I really want to discuss Umbrian sausages. I have eaten sausages in many countries, and I have not found any that beat Umbrian sausages. With a few friends, we decided to have a sausage tasting. Sausages were purchased from everyone's favorite butchery in the Bevagna/Montefalco area, grilled over a wood fire and the serious business of pitting one sausage flavor against another began. Unfortunately, we had had too much wine to be able to remember which sausage was which by this point, so the results were inconclusive leaving us open to make another attempt.

Making sausages

Umbrian sausages are delicious because they are very meaty. No padding is added. They are also not very fatty, just enough to stop them being dry. Some people may find them a little salty, but as the Umbrians do not salt their bread, it all balances out.

The following Sausage and Polenta recipe is easy. If you cannot get Umbrian sausages, buy the best sausages available to you. And consider a trip to Italy if you want to taste the real thing. More on the real Umbria, a great place to stay, and eating in Bevagna and surrounding areas here

There is a sausage in that delicious sauce somewhere

 

Sausages and Polenta

4- 8 sausages depending on size

1 medium onion chopped

2 carrots finely chopped

3 celery stalks finely chopped

1 clove garlic crushed

2-5 tablespoons of olive oil

500 mls passata or canned chopped tomatoes

Red wine (optional)

Salt and pepper

Precooked polenta for 4 people

Chopped parsley for garnish

The sausages can be pan-fried and set aside. For best results they should be cooked on a BBQ.

Fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil. I use olive oil liberally, but if the sausages are fatty, use less. Add the finely chopped carrots and celery and cook gently for five minutes. Pour in the passata and leave to cook together until the vegetables have reached the consistency you like and the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes. If you are adding wine, add it about ten minutes before the end of the cooking. The red wine darkens the sauce and alters the flavor making it fuller. But the sauce is good without. I use wine sometimes and sometimes I don’t. Season to taste keeping in mind that the sausages may add extra saltiness.

The sausages can be added 5-10 minutes before the cooking time is up. All you want to do is to warm them through. If they have been BBQed, they will impart an extra smoky flavor to the sauce.

Follow the instructions on the precooked polenta. It usually takes only five minutes. If you have bought polenta that is not precooked, it takes patience and a good stirring action. In fact, a young Italian woman, who was making polenta for me recently, told me that the word is made out of two words that literally mean - a little and long.

Grated parmesan can be added to the polenta just before serving, but it is a rich dish anyway with the sausages, so it is far from necessary.

When the polenta is thickened, pour onto the plate and ladle the sausage and sauce on top. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top and enjoy. Dinner for 4.

For more delicious recipes and chat about food click here 

N/A

Country: Italy

Province/State: Umbria

City: Bevagna

Address: Corso Amendola

Zip/Post Code: N/A

Location Tips: N/A

Phone: N/A

Website:N/A

Price Guide:N/A (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

As a visitor to Umbria on several occasions, I wholeheartedly agree with the writer on the subject of Italian sausages. They really are without equal/ Especially good if barbecued over a wood fire.
davide
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