- 6 people
- Prep. Time
- 20 min
- 1 lb penne rigate or rigatoni
- 3/4 lb fresh sweet or hot Italian sausage
- 1/4 lb wild fennel fronds, leaves and slim, tender stems only
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Wash the fennel fronds well in hot water. Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat. Add the fronds and boil 10 minutes, drain and reserve the water to cook the pasta. Mince the fronds until you have 1/2 to 2/3 cup.
- Remove the sausage from its casing and break apart into small pieces. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over moderately high heat. Add the sausage and cook until it is no longer pink and begins to brown lightly. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, breaking the sausage up as you go.
- Add the fennel greens and stir well to distribute and coat with the oil. Season with salt. Reduce the heat and keep warm.
- Add 1/4 cup salt to the water in which you cooked the fennel. Return to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente. Set aside 1 cup of the pasta water, drain the pasta and return it to the skillet with the sausage and fennel greens. Cook, stirring, over moderate heat for a minute or two to flavor the pasta, moistening it with some of the reserved pasta water.
- Serve immediately.