Pasta, sausage and fennel: a tasty combo

DINNER TONIGHT

December 27, 2006|By Linda Gassenheimer | Linda Gassenheimer,McClatchy-Tribune

Sausage, fennel, onion and tomatoes make a robust pasta topping. I adapted the recipe here from Tom Colicchio, award-winning chef of Craft and Gramercy Tavern in New York and judge on Bravo's Top Chef.

Italian turkey sausage often is seasoned with fennel seed. Also called sweet anise, fennel is a large white bulb with celerylike stems and feathery green leaves. It has a mild licorice flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked.

Wine suggestion --A perfect match for this fennel-scented dish is a big rich red that has a hint of licorice itself - syrah.

Helpful hints --If you can't find fennel, substitute celery. The flavor will be different but good.

Tom Colicchio's Fennel-and-Sausage Pasta

Serves 2

1/2 pound lean turkey sausage (preferably fennel-flavored)

1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)

1 cup coarsely chopped onion

1 cup cauliflower florets broken into small pieces

1 cup canned, no-salt-added crushed tomatoes

4 ounces dried spaghetti

2 teaspoons olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Put a 3- to 4-quart saucepan of water on to boil. Cut sausage into 1/2 -inch slices. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute sausage 2 minutes and set aside.

Add fennel, onion and cauliflower to the pan and saute 5 minutes. As the vegetables start to color, return the sausage to the skillet for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and set aside, covered, off the heat.

As soon as the water boils, cook the spaghetti about 8 minutes. Drain and return to saucepan. Add the olive oil and toss. Add the sausage mixture and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well and serve with parsley on top.

Per serving: 535 calories, 16 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 60 milligrams cholesterol, 30 grams protein, 68 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fiber, 480 milligrams sodium

Analysis provided by the Miami Herald.

Shopping list

To buy:

1/2 pound lean, fennel-flavored turkey sausage; 1 medium fennel bulb; 1 small head cauliflower; 1 small bunch parsley; 1 small can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes; 1 package spaghetti

Staples:

onion, olive oil, salt, black peppercorns

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