Rigatoni with Sausage & Fennel

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

3 tablespoons good olive oil

3 cups chopped fennel (1 large bulb)

1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion

1 1/4 pounds sweet Italian sausages, casings removed

2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)

1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup half-and-half

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 pound rigatoni

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, divided

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset, over medium heat. Add the fennel and onion and saute for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the sausage and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, crumbling it with a fork, until nicely browned. Add the garlic, crushed fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper and cook for one minute. Pour in the wine, bring to a boil, and add the heavy cream, half-and-half, and tomato paste. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 2 tablespoons salt, and cook the rigatoni according to the directions on the package. Drain and add to the sauce, stirring to coat the pasta. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the sauce. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Serve hot in shallow bowls with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan on the side.
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