Try Fennelicious Pasta For A Change -- By Rosie Hawthorne

I’m always happy to try vegetables I haven’t had before and I recently had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of fennel. Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare, is a bulbous vegetable, usually considered an herb, and is closely related to the Umbellifereae family of parsley, carrots, dill, and cilantro. Most often associated with Mediterranean and Italian cuisine, the entire plant can be enjoyed - bulb, stalk, fronds, and seeds. Its taste is akin to anise and licorice. Mr. Hawthorne came up with this ragù, which is a meat-based tomato sauce typically served with pasta, and paired it with sausage and fennel, for a hearty winter meal.

Pasta And Sausage Ragù 1/4 fennel bulb, coarsely chopped 1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped 1 tsp fennel seeds 1 16-oz. jar home-canned tomatoes 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage 1 TB extra virgin olive oil kosher salt and pepper, to taste 1 TB tomato paste 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 tsp homegrown dried oregano (more potent than store bought) 1/3 cup red wine Pasta - Mr. Hawthorne used 1/2 bag of no-yolk noodles. You want to use a wide noodle, like tagliatelle or pappardelle to stand up to this meaty sauce.

Grated Parmesan cheese
In a processor, give fennel, onion, and fennel seeds about 10 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer to separate bowl. Process tomatoes until smooth, about 10 seconds, and transfer to a second bowl. Pulse sausage until finely chopped - about 10 pulses.

In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmery. Add sausage and cook, breaking up the meat, until all liquid has evaporated and meat begins to sizzle, about 10-15 minutes. Add fennel mixture, a bit of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, lightly browning the fond, or goodie bits with all the flavor, on the bottom. Add tomato paste, garlic, and oregano. Cook, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Stir in wine, scraping up the bits, and cook until nearly evaporated, about a minute. Add processed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer, uncovered, until mixture starts to thicken. A wooden spoon should leave a trail through the sauce. If too thick, thin with a little water. You want the sauce to stick to the noodles. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and keep warm.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, add a liberal amount of extra virgin olive oil (if desired), toss with ragù sauce, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Buon appetito!

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Try Fennelicious Pasta For A Change -- By Rosie Hawthorne Try Fennelicious Pasta For A Change -- By Rosie Hawthorne Reviewed by kensunm on 7:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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