Sausage and roasted fennel penne


So that winter pasta binge I mentioned – what a glorious time it was. Slithery snakes of spaghetti, gallons of creme fraiche, snowy mountains of parmesan and ragu galore. But alas, all good things must come to an end, and it least while I’m professionally required to look nice in clothes, there’ll be no more scoffing bowls-full of pasta-dreams three times a week. Plus, while I don’t want to get all #eatclean dick head on you, it does make you feel like shit if you go bananas on the carbs all the time. It’s just one of life’s great injustices, like hangovers and the fact that I won’t be able to up my goth ante in this Dolce & Gabbana dress when me and Harriet tear the Scottish highlands a new arsehole this summer.

I wouldn’t want to advocate giving anything up entirely though, and this sausage and fennel creation is definitely one worth resurrecting when the pasta mood takes you. It’s especially easy to make because you just roast the sausage, which I like to squeeze out of the skin to make little meatballs, and fennel and the juice that creates is all you need for your pasta sauce. If you did want to lube it up further a spoon of creme fraiche wouldn’t go amiss, because when does creme fraiche ever make something worse, but there’s something quite nice about the almost gravy-like coating the pasta gets just by adding a ladle of starchy, emulsifying pasta water.

The best thing about this dish is the double fennel whammy you get from roasting the bulb and then adding the chopped up fine leaves at the end like a herb. It’s really worth doing that because it adds a really good green freshness, so you might have to stray from the supermarket, who seem to always remove this bit for some reason, into a Whole Foods or other fancy-dan vegetable shop.

I love how fennel has a fresh but earthy taste about it, like the smell after it’s rained, and this dish would be great eaten outside in the summer with a cold glass of dry white wine, most likely in this country, after it had just rained.

Ingredients – serves 2

150g of penne pasta. Actually, any bites size bits will do – shells, twists, whatevs.

1 large bulb of fennel that still has its hairy leaves.

2 good quality sausages – by which I mean, not Richmond or some shit, but those of the Tesco Finest Lincolnshire ilk will do.

2-3 cloves of garlic.

Nice extra virgin olive oil.

Parmesan to grate over.




Remove the leave from the fennel and set aside. Chop up the bulb into wedges and throw into a baking tin, sort of separating out some of the layers.

Squeeze the sausage from the skins into mini meatball chunks and throw them in too, along with the garlic and a good splash of olive oil. Roast on about 200C for 25-30 mins stirring now and again. You want it to come out cooked and lightly browned but still a bit juicy looking.

Halfway through, cook your pasta according to packet instructions. Reserve about a mug-full of the cooking water and drain.

Remove the roasting tin of sausage and fennel from the oven and throw the cooked pasta straight in. Finely chop the fennel leaves you set aside further and stir through the pasta with salt and pepper, adding a good splash of the reserved pasta water until you’ve got desired sauciness.

Divide between two bowls and top with as much parmesan as you see fit.


One Response to “Sausage and roasted fennel penne”

  1. George Heywood Says:

    This is a great recipe. It looks completely delicious and definitely something i would like. I’ve added it to the list of meals i want to try.

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