Rigatoni with Sausage and Fennel

This is an Ina Garten recipe, so you know it’s going to be delicious. Easy to make and great flavor. Don’t be scared off by the fennel — it doesn’t taste like anise once you’ve cooked it! One of my favorite quick recipes.

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons good olive oil

3 cups chopped fennel (1 large bulb)

1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion

1 1/4 pounds sweet Italian sausages, casings removed

2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)

1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup half-and-half

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 pound rigatoni

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, divided


INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset, over medium heat. Add the fennel and onion and saute for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the sausage and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, crumbling it with a fork, until nicely browned. Add the garlic, crushed fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper and cook for one minute. Pour in the wine, bring to a boil, and add the heavy cream, half-and-half, and tomato paste. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 2 tablespoons salt, and cook the rigatoni according to the directions on the package. Drain and add to the sauce, stirring to coat the pasta. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the sauce. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Serve hot in shallow bowls with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan on the side.

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