If you are looking for a pasta sauce that is a bit different this delicious Fennel and Sausage Pasta might just fit the bill.
My sister-in-law served this one evening and it was so delicious I took the first opportunity to try to recreate it. I am not sure it is exactly like hers was but it sure is tasty!
The fennel bulb adds an interesting lightness with a hint of sweetness. You can use your favourite Italian sausage – mild or hot to suit your taste. I happened to see some mild ones that actually had fennel seeds in them that I thought would go nicely… and they did!
My sister-in-law used a spicy sausage which was also delicious. If you end up with a mild sausage you can always serve red pepper flakes on the side so people can adjust to their own taste.
Chef’s Tips for Fennel and Sausage Pasta
- use Italian sausage flavour of your choice. Remove sausage meat from casing and discard casing. Break up the sausage meat so it is uniformly crumbly to attain the right texture. You can vary the intensity to be mild or spicy to suit your taste.
- you can use a homemade pasta sauce if desired but the commercial ones are tasty and make this an easy recipe to pull together.
- adding the cream softens the sauce a bit which complements the fennel flavour
This recipe makes a generous amount so it serves a crowd or gives you leftovers. It reheats nicely so enjoy if you have leftovers.
Wine Pairing for Fennel & Sausage Pasta
This is a fairly robust dish depending on how spicy the sausage you use is. I would honour the Italian heritage of this dish and choose a Chianti, a Ripasso or even a Primitivo.
Check out Cantine due Palme Sangaetano Primitivo di Manduria 2018 VINTAGES#: 536532 $17.95 Puglia, Italy which is described as silky with dried plum and spice and gorgeous. May 16, 2020 LCBO Vintages release.
The softening effect of the fennel and cream would also pair well with a white wine. Again, honouring the Italian heritage of the dish I would go with a Soave or Falanghina, which are both richer and more aromatic than a Pinot Grigio.
- 8 cups cooked pasta like rigatoni or fusili
- 2 lbs Italian sausage remove casings
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 22 oz pasta sauce I used Thick & Zesty (680 ml)
- 1 medium fennel bulb bulb only, fronds for garnish if desired
- 1/4 cup 10% cream
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- fresh grated parmesan
- red pepper flakes optional
- Remove the sausage meat from the casing. Chop the meat so it is a fine uniform texture. Fry the sausage meat over medium heat about 8 minutes, stirring and breaking it up so it is not clumpy.
- Remove the stalks from the fennel bulb and chop the bulb roughly the same size as the onion dice. Add the onion and fennel to the sausage and saute another 10 minutes.
- Add the pasta sauce, and spices. Simmer over medium low heat for about 15 minutes.
- Add cream and just heat through.
- While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta according to manufacturer's instructions. Drain but do not rinse.
- Serve sauce over pasta with fresh grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes (optional) for garnish.