Cavatelli with Fennel Sausage, Brown Butter and Crispy Sage
When winter isn't quite ready to shed its coat and enter spring, hearty, simple, stick-to-the-ribs meals are best. There's barely anything at the farmers market, so we turn to our pantries instead. What I love about this recipe is that you can use your favorite fennel sausage instead of making it from scratch. That brings the cooking time to 20 minutes, tops. I'm of the mind that brown butter improves anything and when mixed with fragrant sage and fennel, it's such a satisfying combination. You can try this recipe with any pasta you like, but I like the texture of the cavatelli best. Enjoy!
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the sausage in batches, if necessary, to avoid overcrowding the skillet. Cook until the sausage is fully cooked, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the sausage to a plate and return the skillet to the heat.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, add the butter and the chopped sage to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the butter is browned and smells nutty. Pour in the wine and cook until the alcohol has cooked off, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon, about 3 minutes. Return the sausage to the skillet, add the pasta and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and fried sage leaves and serve immediately.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together with your hands until well combined. Gently roll the mixture into 1 inch balls and set aside on a rimmed baking sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate until ready to use, for up to 4 days.
The sausage mixture also makes an excellent base for meatballs!