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Paccheri with Sausage, Fennel and Pine Nuts

Cook Time:
20 mins
Prep Time:
10 mins
Servings:
4
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(31)

Chef notes

One pot. Quick prep. Super cozy — this recipe’s got it all. This tasty sausage and pasta makes the perfect dinner for a casual weeknight or an elevated dinner party with friends. The best part? It all happens in one pot, minimizing cleanup and maximizing the time you spend sitting around the table, connecting and eating with your loved ones. 

Despite being full of flavor, this dish also requires the use of minimal ingredients because it gets a punch of flavor from Italian sausage. After removing the sausage from the pot, you’ll toast the pine nuts in the pork fat — doing double duty to get you the most flavor while also cutting down on the dishes you’ll have to do later. The heavier, salty notes are then balanced out by the addition of bright lemon and sautéed fennel. The ingredients all come together with a mixture of pasta water and butter. 

Garnish with the leftover fennel fronds for an impressive looking plate. This pasta is hearty enough served on its own, or slice up some crusty bread alongside to sop up all the flavorful sauce. 

Special Equipment Required: You'll need a slotted spoon for stirring.

Technique Tip: Use a potato masher to break up sausage links neatly into little pieces.

Swap Option: Feel free to use ghee instead of butter and pecorino instead of Parmesan. Pecorino is saltier than Parmesan, so you may want to adjust the salt content overall. And in a pinch, you can always swap paccheri for your favorite pasta shape.

Ingredients

  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound tube-shaped pasta, such as paccheri or rigatoni
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 lemon halved
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 medium-size bulb fennel, cored and diced, fronds reserved for garnish
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Fulfilled by

Preparation

1.

Finely chop half a seeded lemon.

2.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta 1 minute shy of the package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain. 

3.

While the pasta is cooking, add olive oil to a large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon or potato masher until golden brown and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl.

4.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the finely chopped lemon and pine nuts. Cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture is fragrant and the nuts are golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a cutting board. Season with salt. Once cooled, roughly chop.

5.

Melt the butter in the same Dutch oven. Add fennel and onion, cooking until softened and the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Reduce the heat to low.

6.

Add the pasta, reserved sausage and ½ cup pasta water and toss everything to coat, sprinkling in the Parmesan cheese, a handful at a time. Add the juice of the reserved lemon half and toss again, adding more pasta water as necessary to achieve a silky sauce. To serve, top with reserved pine nuts, lemon and fennel fronds.