Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
Caramelized, roasted fennel is the star of this pasta dish. It adds so much flavor – and while it roasts in the oven, you can cook everything else. Italian sausage, onion, garlic, white wine, sundried tomatoes, parsley, capers and Parmesan – it’s a celebration of delicious Italian flavor.
I like to use a smaller pasta shape for this dish, like Cappelletti, so that it’s the same size as all the diced vegetables and sausage – it’s the secret to a perfect bite! Nodi Marini, orecchiette or mezzi rigatoni would be perfect as well.
Pasta With Roasted Fennel And Sausage
For The Fennel:
- 2 small bulbs fennel trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For The Pasta:
- 1 pound short pasta such as cappelletti, nodi marini or orecchiette
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound spicy Italian sausage casing removed
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic chopped or smashed
- ¼ cup white wine such as pinot grigio
- ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes drained and chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon capers rinsed and drained
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- For the fennel: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
- Toss the fennel, oil, salt and pepper in a baking sheet, and arrange in an even layer. Roast until golden and tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- For the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the sausage and break into 1/2-inch pieces using a wooden spoon. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Add the onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
- Cook until all of the wine has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, parsley and capers. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the pasta, fennel and cheese. Toss until all ingredients are coated, adding the reserved pasta water as needed, to loosen the pasta.