My kids don't dig fennel. That's unfortunate because fennel is one of my favorite things. I am excited that we've gotten fennel two weeks in row in our CSA box and I hope the streak continues.
That said, neither M or J ate the fennel in the pasta. They ate the pasta and sausage quickly, they just avoided the fennel, leaving it to their parents to eat off their plates (mostly me).
Curtis and I enjoyed this recipe. It wasn't as rich as I was worried it would be based on the cream sauce. I made some serious adjustments to the original recipe, but I think it turned out just right.
Rigatoni with Fennel and Sausage
adapted from Gourmet
1 lb mild Italian sausage (either bulk or links with the casings removed and discarded)
2 T olive oil
1 c onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large bell pepper (red is preferable but green is fine), chopped
1 fennel bulb, sliced thin (about 2 c)
2/3 c dry white wine
1 c chicken broth
1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 lb rigatoni or other tubular pasta
1/4 c minced fresh parsley leaves
grated fresh parmesan cheese
Cook the sausage over moderate heat in a heavy skillet, stirring and breaking up any lumps, until it is cooked through and transfer it with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet, reduce heat to medium low, and cook until the onion is softened, stirring occasionally. Add the bell pepper and fennel and cook the mixture over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the bell pepper and fennel are softened. Add the wine and broth, bring to boil and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the cream and boil until it is thickened slightly and reduced by about a 1/3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente in a pot of boiling water. Place pasta in a bowl, toss with the fennel mixture, sausage, parsley, and Parmesan. Serve