This is one of my favourite pasta dishes. It's bursting with so many different flavours. There's the anise you get from the fennel, heat from the chili flakes, sweetness from the cherry tomatoes, and the caramelization from the sausage. All these beautiful flavours are brought together into one dish with a touch of cream and then garnished with parsley. You can use pretty much any kind of pasta with this dish, but I recommend penne, fusilli, or shells so you get maximum sauce with each mouthful. I've made this many times and I think this is my yummiest version yet!
What you'll need: fresh sausages, pasta (I ended up using mini shells instead of this one pictured here because Boyfriend said it looked like maggots...), parsley, cherry tomatoes
What you'll need: fennel seeds, black pepper, oregano, chili flakes
Bash up the chili flakes and fennel seeds to release their flavours
Squeeze the sausages out of their skins and break them up in the pan.
Keep frying and breaking the meat up until it resembles mince.
Add the bashed-up fennel seeds and chili flakes and cook on a medium heat until the meat becomes crisp, golden brown and slightly caramelized. Take your time with this step. It is essential that the sausage is browned nicely (not burnt!) and has rendered most of its oil. That's how the deep flavours develop.
Add in cherry tomatoes, cooked pasta and a touch of cream. Mix until the sauce has thickened and coats the pasta evenly.
Garnish with chopped parsley.
Sausage Pasta with Fennel and Chili
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 fresh Italian sausages
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup cream
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
- Bash up the fennel seeds and the chili flakes in a pestle and mortar or in a seed grinder.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan on medium heat. Squeeze the meat out of the sausage skins onto the pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.
- Fry for a few minutes until the meat starts to colour and the fat has rendered slightly. Break up the meat more until it resembles minced meat.
- Add the fennel seeds and chili and cook on a medium heat for around 10 minutes until the meat becomes crisp, golden brown and slightly caramelized.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. When done, drain the pasta, reserving some of the pasta water.
- Add in the oregano into the sausage, and pour in the white wine. Allow it to reduce a little.
- Add the halved tomatoes and cream and cook until the tomatoes begin to soften, around 2 minutes. Season.
- Add the cooked pasta and toss with the sausage mixture until the sauce has coated the pasta evenly. Add the reserved pasta water to loosened up the sauce if needed.
- Garnish with chopped parsley.