Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 20 mins
· 3 cups Rigatoni
· 2 fennel bulbs (with fronds)
· 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
· 6 Tbsp white wine
· salt to taste
· 4 veal sausages
· 2 tsp fennel seeds
· 6 Tbsp plain breadcrumbs
· 2 Tbsp butter
· 1 cup Grated cheese - Try our Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
· 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
· 2 tsp lemon zest
· black pepper to taste
1. Set a stock pot of water to boil over high heat. Cut the fronds away from the fennel bulb, reserving both. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer of the fennel bulb, and then rinse the fennel fronds. Now cut the bulb in half, lengthwise, and slice both halves as thinly as possible.
2. Warm the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the fennel bulb slices, and sauté until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine, and cook just long enough for the wine to deglaze the pan. Season with a touch of salt.
3. While the fennel is cooking, remove the sausages from their casings. When the fennel is finished sautéing, remove it to a medium bowl. Add the sausage to the same pan and break it up with the back of your mixing spoon. Cook the sausage until it is no longer pink, 5 minutes or so. Then remove the sausage to the fennel bowl and remove pan from heat for later use.
4. Meanwhile add salt and pasta to boiling water. Cook until al dente, and then drain the pasta, retaining 1/2 cup of pasta water.
5. In a mortar and pestle or a knife, crush up the fennel seeds, and mix them with the breadcrumbs. To bring out the flavor even more, toast the fennel seeds and breadcrumbs in a dry pan over medium heat for about 1 minute.
6. Melt the butter in the fennel/sausage pan over low heat. Add the drained pasta, and 4 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water, and stir together. Chop up the reserved fennel fronds, and add that to the pan, along with the sautéed fennel, sausage, breadcrumbs, pecorino, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of pasta water, and stir to bring everything together. Taste, and adjust for salt.
7. Spoon the pasta into bowls. Finish with freshly grated black pepper.