I’ve cooked this up twice now, the second time being even better than the first due to the addition of heavy cream (I couldn’t help it; I tell myself that’s how I’m going to get my calcium) and the result is a hearty winter meal with quite a bit of kick due to the spicy Italian sausage. Originally inspired by Manu’s Menu’s recipe: Orecchiette with sausage and fennel tops, I once again set my sights on using the fennel in my CSA box. For my first try, I kept to Manu’s Menu’s sauce pretty strictly and for the second time around I played a bit more. I have to also say that I passed on making homemade pasta. Still tasty.
Unfortunately I didn’t getting any photos of the second try where you can really see the creamy sauce not that the first method wasn’t delicious in and of itself. I served the pasta both times with a nice dollop of ricotta mixed with parsley* and freshly cracked pepper to give the tongue a bit of a reprieve from the spicy pasta. I also used the bulb of the fennel instead of the tops because I just love roasting my vegetables and I wanted incorporate some roasted carrots for good measure.
Sausage and Roasted Fennel Pasta
~ 2 cups of dried pasta (you pick!)
~2 Italian sausages with the casings removed
~1 whole shallot finely chopped
~2-3 garlic cloves sliced
~1 fennel* bulb sliced
~3 carrots* sliced on the diagonal
~1 small lemon*
~1/4ish of Sauvignon Blanc
~pinch of saffron
~1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated
~1/2 cup of heavy cream
Heat the oven to 475 to roast the vegetables. Put sliced fennel, carrots, and garlic in an appropriately sized bowl. Juice the lemon over the vegetables followed by a drizzling of olive oil and freshly cracked pepper. Toss to coat and spread on a lined baking sheet to be roasted in the oven for 12 minutes. If you can remember, turn the vegetables over half way through. Heat water for pasta to a boil (I bet you can figure out that part).
In a skillet, heat a tbsp of olive oil before adding the finely chopped shallot. Once the shallot is tender, add the sausage, breaking it up as it browns. I prefer a lot of smaller pieces than big chunks. When the sausage is evenly browned, add all the roasted vegetables followed by the wine and raise the temperature to high to cook out the alcohol. I tasted it to decide when most of the zing of the alcohol had left and flavors had begun to blend. Then add the pinch of saffron and cream. Lower the temperature back to medium, maybe a bit higher to cook down and create a thicker sauce. Finally add the cheese and stir to incorporate. Toss in pasta and serve!
With the cheese and the sausage, you shouldn’t need to use any salt other than for the boiling water. I would even insist not to season the vegetables with salt before roasting. Unnecessary.
Enjoy warming up to this winter delight. Please feel free, to share, like, follow, and pin!