I tried this dish, pasta with sausage, fennel and cream in Orlando at Christini’s Italian Ristorante, one of the finest Italian restaurants in the United States. I have yet to have it anywhere as good but I gave it a shot and it was pretty good. The fennel really gives it a spectacular taste. I suggest adding ground fennel a little at a time or add as needed. I prefer a bit more than I have posted in the recipe below.
It is imperative to use a good Italian sweet sausage or a fresh sausage from your local butcher. If using a sausage inside the casing make certain to remove the sausage from the casing prior to sautéing.
To add a nice variety add some fresh or frozen peas the last 2-minutes and fold into pasta.
1 lb Italian sweet sausage loose or casings removed
4 Italian plum tomatoes chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground fennel seed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb pasta cavatappi
3/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper
In a large pan over medium heat add olive oil. Add sausage, fennel, pinch of salt and pepper and break into pieces for 5-minutes. Remove sausage but leave drippings and add tomatoes sautéing for 10-minutes. Place sausage in a Cuisinart and grind until fine then adding to pan. Add parsley, cream and cheese reducing heat to medium low cooking for 3-minutes until cream coats the back of your spoon. Taste to see if you need to add more fennel.
Cook pasta until 2-minutes less than what package indicates for al’dente. Drain water leaving a cup of pasta water. Add pasta to sauce, fold and turn heat to medium and cook 1-2 minutes until done. Add pasta water if needed. Serve and garnish with fresh grated reggiano cheese and chopped parsley.
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