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Penne with Sausage, Fennel, and Pecorino

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

This hearty fall pasta gets a double dose of fennel flavor, from both fresh fennel and fennel seed in the sausage.


  • Kosher salt
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 oz. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large fennel bulb (about 1-1/2 lb.), halved, cored, and thinly sliced crosswise (about 4 cups)
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
  • 1 cup lower-salt chicken broth
  • 10 oz. dried penne
  • 1 oz. finely grated Pecorino Romano (1 cup using a rasp grater); more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 640
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 270
  • Fat (g): 30
  • Saturated Fat (g): 8
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 16
  • Cholesterol (mg): 30
  • Sodium (mg): 1030
  • Carbohydrates (g): 70
  • Fiber (g): 8
  • Protein (g): 23


  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and breaking it up into smaller pieces with the edge of a slotted metal spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Use the spoon to transfer the sausage to a paper-towel lined plate and pour off any fat left in the skillet.
  • Set the skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and the onion.Cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens and begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the fennel, sage, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is softened and the onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked sausage and chicken broth and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the penne in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 10 to 11 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta in a colander. Return the pasta to the pot over medium-high heat and stir in the sausage mixture until well combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and enough reserved pasta water to moisten, if necessary. Distribute among 4 bowls and sprinkle with additional cheese.


Rate or Review

Reviews (7 reviews)

  • User avater
    Onymous | 04/29/2015

    Delicious and easy. A weeknight staple here.

  • user-4005484 | 03/25/2015

    So delicious! Never used fennel before this.. the licorice flavor completely goes away when cooked. This dish has almost a thanksgivingy flavor due to the sage, sausage and broth, but is delicious and a welcome change from typical pasta dishes. I didn't need to use any more water but used a lot more cheese and topped with nice fresh cracked black pepper and more cheese. It's a dish you'll end up craving.

  • Jjhuj | 03/16/2014

    Perfect pasta recipe for Sunday night dinner. Wife loved the combination of everything even though she tends to shy away from heavy carb foods..

  • wailea | 10/11/2013

    This pasta is really delicious. Fennel adds a wonderful flavor to the dish. It's a keeper.

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