April 19, 2011

Pasta with Wild Fennel and Sausage

This afternoon, I took a walk down to the creek near my house to pick some wild fennel fronds. Wild fennel are different from the ones you buy at the supermarket or farmer's market, as they do not produce a large edible white bulb and the fronds have a distinctive flavor of anise. Note: Be sure to pick them away from the roadside and in areas that are not expose to traffic, smog, or dogs. For my sanity, I steep the fronds in water mixed with a teaspoon of salt for about 5 minutes and rinse it well.
½ lb penne rigatoni
A good handful of wild fennel fronds
½ lb fresh Italian sausage (hot or sweet)
4 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Rinse and drain fennel fronds well. Bring a large pot of water to a fast boil with enough water to cover the fennel. Add the fronds and boil for about 10 minutes to remove any insects. Remove and drain into a colander. When cool enough to handle, chop and mince the cooked fennel. Reserve the water to cook the pasta.
2. With a knife slice open the sausage casing and break the meat into small clumps. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and fry garlic and sausage meat over moderate heat. Cook the meat until it is no longer pink and begins to brown on the sides. Break into smaller chunks with a wooden spoon, add fennel greens and stir well to mix with the oil. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
3. Add a tsp of salt into the strained fennel water and cook pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain pasta and add it to the pan with the sausage and fennel. Continue to cook over low heat for about 2 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the flavor of the sauce. Add some pasta water if you prefer more sauce. Serve warm.
Printable Recipe


Wendy said...

I cooked almost the same meal the other night. We must have the same cravings!

PapaCheong's 拿手好菜 said...

Very Appetizing!