This was the way my mother cooked Italian sausages – prick them with a fork and put them in a pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer, turning occasionally, until the water is gone. Finish by browning the sausages on a low heat in the fat that is left.
Then my sister gave me Arthur Schwartz' "The Southern Italian Table" and to my shock, in it he described - as a recipe - the way I had cooked sausages all my life, the way my mother had always cooked them (and probably the way her mother had always cooked them).
“Sausage in a Skillet”
from The Southern Italian Table by Arthur Schwartz, published by Clarkson Potter
1 pound Italian sausages of any kind
Cover the sausages with water in an 8 to 9 inch skillet over high heat. As soon as the water boils, reduce the heat until it gently simmers. Cook the sausages, uncovered, turning them over several times as soon as the water evaporates enough to expose the tops of the sausages.
When all the water has boiled away, after about 15 minutes, reduce the heat to very low, and turning frequently, brown them in the rendered fat in the pan. If you need a bit more fat, prick one of the sausages with the point of a knife. Serve hot.
Needless to say, these two cookbooks of Arthur’s - "Naples at Table" and "The Southern Italian Table" are now among my absolute favourites. Through Arthur, I have learned so much more of my Italian food heritage (and from the most unlikely source – Italian only by adoption; Jewish, born and bred in Brooklyn but with Italian next door neighbours).
For more about Arthur and his books, see: www.thefoodmaven.com. Great recipes on it, too!!!