Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fresh Fennel and Italian Sausage on Casarecce Pasta -- Ian and Christie's Great Fennel Adventure

Fresh Fennell & Italian Sausage on Casarecce pasta, or, Ian and Christies great Fennel adventure

I Hate Fennel. There, I said it. I asked Ian if he liked it but I forgot, if he hasn't eaten a certain food before his answer is always "No". So, in an attempt to expand our culinary horizons we boldly trekked into the vegetable store and bought a bulb of fennel.

We then picked out this great looking fennel sausage pasta from the Pasta et Cetera a la Di Stasio cookbook that looked delicious. It also looked like it would mask the taste of the fennel. I think it was a good starting point.

Ok, that was the easy part, but cutting the fennel was a little tricky. Seasoned fennel lovers out there will think I'm crazy, "how could she not know how to cut fennel, it's so easy" well, if you have never seen it cut before, how do you know what to save for eating, and what to throw out. Plus I hate liquorice so the smell was annoying.

Fresh Fennell & Italian Sausage on Casarecce pasta, or, Ian and Christies great Fennel adventure

To get rid of that bitter liquorice taste we sautéed it with crisp red and green peppers, onions, garlic, and Italian sausage until it was soft and caramelized. Take that fennel! Let me tell you, if fennel always tasted like that Ian and I would be big fans. I don't know if I actually like fennel or if Josée Di Stasio is just brilliant at creating wonderful recipes, but this pasta was a winner. I can't believe I just said that.

If you would like the recipe I would be more than happy to post it but I urge you to take out this book from the library, or buy it, or even borrow the book from a friend. Every recipe looks and tastes amazing! I just bought her other book A la Di Stasio because I took it out from the library three months in a row and didn't want to bring it back. Another great pasta recipe that we make every week (seriously) by Josée Di Stasio that is very similar is the Sausage and Spinach Shells.

Ok, by popular demand, here is my version of the recipe, but still go out and get the book!

Fresh Fennel and Italian Sausage on Pasta
adapted from "Pasta et Cetera" by Josee Di Stasio

500g, about 3 Italian Sausages (good quality, go to your butcher!)
1/2 to a full bulb of fennel (depending on if you like fennel), cut into strips
1 of each red and orange pepper, total two peppers, cut into strips
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 tsp. fennel seeds
500g dried pasta
3/4 cup low sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup pasta water
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper

In a large pan remove skin from the sausage and sauté until no more pink can be seen. Remove the sausage but leave the fat from them in the pan. Sauté the fennel and peppers in the fat for 10 minutes or until the fennel becomes soft and caramelized. Add the garlic, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. In a large pot boil salted water and cook pasta until al dente. During that time add the sausage back to the pan with the fennel and add the chicken stock. Cook until 2/3rds of the chicken stock is gone. When the pasta is done take the ¼ cup of pasta water and add it to the sausage and fennel mix. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and the drained pasta. Mix together and serve.


La Marquise des anges said...

first cookie , first cookie ... hihi :)
I used to hate fennel, since 2 months ago when I tasted some braised fennel ( I did not really ordered them) and ... well .. I love the dish :)

really want to try this recipe ... not sure I will find the book around ;) :)

Chocolate Shavings said...

I just got one of Di Stasio's cookbook on sale for 6 dollars the other day! it totally made my day!

I love fennel - but I feel like people usually love it, or absolutely hate it. Maybe this will make you want to try some new fennel based dishes? I just made a fennel and orange salad (today actually!).. but I'm guessing that would taste too much like fennel for your taste!

Liliana said...

This is a great dish! I love, love fennel, sausage and pasta. I was raised on this stuff. Funny though, I don't like liquorice.

I recently bought 'al las di Stasio - the English version' and just love it. It's a great addition to my ever growing cookbook collection.

I am glad you liked this recipe. Your photos looks wonderful!

Katherine said...

Pleae post the recipe! Pretty Please?

Valérie said...

Glad you ended up liking the pasta! I was given this book over a year ago, and I love it! I use it all the time, especially the pasta and appetizer recipes.

Di Stasio has said she loves to snack on raw fennel, and I recall she uses it in a lot of her recipes - and it turns out those are the recipes in her book I haven't tried yet. I'll have to give it a try sometime.

Coco Bean said...

Sabine, you are so funny! You will always be the first cookie! Mmm braised fennel, we will have to try that next! I will post the recipe tomorrow for you!

Chocolate Shavings: Six bucks! That's a steal! I ordered mine online so I got a deal, but I paied three times more than you did. Maybe fennel is like cilantro, there is that gene that makes you hate it. I don't think I am up to raw fennel just yet but it does sound amazing with oranges. Thanks for the idea!

Liliana: I also caved in and bought the english version but I think the "pasta et cetera" is only in french, or the library only carries it in french. I should have known you, a montrealer who loves cookbooks, would have this one!

Katherine, sorry it took me so long, I was enjoying the sun this weekend. I will post the recipe tomorrow.

Valerie: Ok ok, so does that mean I have to take the overdue book back to the library so that you can take it out? Hehe, I'm so bad when it comes to returning books (and movies). Snacking on raw fennel... I don't know about that. If you loved the stuff I guess it would be great though. I just found out that she has a show on one of the french channels. I know, last to know about that eh, but I think it's over for the season.

Hilary said...

I hate fresh fennel, too. Like HATE it. I do like fennel seeds as a flavouring though and funnily enough I adore fennel sausage, so there's a remote outside chance I *might* like this dish. It certainly looks delish.

Junglefrog said...

I'm gonna have to try and find this Di Stasio now.... As if I don't own enough cookbooks yet... (deep sigh) but this sounds (and looks) like a great recipe! I actually do like fennel but it very much depends on how it is prepared. I also don't like it in a very strong flavoured kind of way, but if you know how to not prepare it it has endless possibilities!

La Marquise des anges said...

the recipe, the recipe !!!! ;) :)

La Marquise des anges said...

How sweet of you !! I love you :)

i am planning to make it this weekend :)

merc merci merci