"How to make a good sausage" by Paolo Delmonte and Luca Vasori from Otello's. Step one: Use the freshest meat available, literally straight off the carcass. Choose prime cuts, specific parts not just the trims and leftovers. And use free range or cage-free meat. Step two: Mince and add organic spices and a bit of fat (to keep it moist). Step three: Mix thoroughly and stuff the meat into all-natural casings.
"Don't add fillers like flour," says Luca, "If you did that in Italy they would whack you round the head with it. Keep it simple." And Otello's products are just that. Simple flavourful sausages and cured meats, made the old fashioned Italian way. With no binders the meat is very loose in the sausage and this doubles its versatility - think ravioli filling, meatballs or bolognese sauce - as it can be used as a mince too.
To the untrained eye, the sausages do look kind of fatty but it's not actually the case. "You need the fat for the flavour and to retain moisture," says Paolo "but when you cook it, it all comes out leaving just the meat and spices." And that's true; you don't use any oil in the pan as the sausage releases most of the fat inside it. Provided you cook it well - not too long as it gets too dry, seven to eight minutes is generally enough - the results are delicious.
Our favourite would have to be the calabrese sausage. Big chilli and smoked paprika flavour with a good kick of spice, it would be perfect on the barbecue or in a slow-cooked winter casserole with beans or lentils and plenty of tomato. There is also a much milder sicilian and a free range wild boar (Tuscan-style).
The cured meats are also excellent. A lot of love is put into their production. Paolo massages the meat to give it that delicate texture and really infuse the meat with the flavours. He says massaging actually changes the flavour of the meat.
All the meats are air-dried so stand on their own natural flavour profiles rather than smoky overtones. Our favourite was the coppa although the calabrese salami is also very good and would be outstanding in pasta with capers and sauce, or on a pizza.
All Otello's products are gluten-free with no preservatives or additives and are made from 100 per cent New Zealand meat, fresh herbs and spices. Mama's recipe has found a new home.
Where to buy:
You can buy Otello's products from Birkenhead Artisan Market, Parnell Farmers Markets, Takapuna Beach Night Market, Coatesville Market, Chateaubriant, IE produce and Farro Fresh.