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Penne with Wild Fennel and Sausage

Recipe courtesy of Cooking with Rosetta


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.