Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fusilli with Fennel, Sausage and Wine

Patricia Wells captures the soul of regional French cooking and transforms the ingredients of the French countryside into recipes that will work as well in your kitchen as they do in mine or hers. Here, she marries well-flavored sausage with a kiss of fennel and binds them together in a rich wine reduction that is tossed with pasta and a mixture of egg and cheese - carbonara style - just before it's served. The shimmering sauce clings to the pasta and your first bite reveals flavor that rarely comes from a sauce so spare and easy to prepare. Gather friends, uncork the wine and enjoy this simple pasta feast.Your evening will be memorable.

I've sent this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights sponsored by Ruth at Once Upon A Feast. This week's guest host is Melissa at The Cooking Diva.

Fusilli with Fennel, Sausage and Chianti

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casing removed, broken into small pieces
1 to 3 teaspoons fennel seeds
3 tablespoons concentrated tomato paste (from a tube)
2 cups Chianti or other dry red wine
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons kosher salt + salt to taste
1 pound dried fusilli or penne
About 1 cup pasta cooking water

1) Heat olive oil in a very large skillet until it shimmers. Add sausage and brown. Stir in fennel seeds and tomato paste; blend well. Bring to a simmer; cook for 2 minutes to blend flavors. Add the wine; simmer, uncovered, until most of the wine cooks off, about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
2) Place the eggs in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Whisk in the cheese and a generous grinding of pepper. Set aside.
3) Bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Stir in 3 tablespoons salt and the fusilli. Cook until tender but firm, about 9 to 11 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
4) Add the pasta to the skillet containing the sausage meat. Toss to coat fusilli with sauce. Remove pan from heat. Pour in egg mixture. Working quickly, toss pasta with two forks to incorporate eggs and coat each piece of fusilli with the egg mixture. If the pasta appears dry add pasta water, a tablespoon at a time, to create a smooth, clinging sauce. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.


Martha said...

Mary -- I love Patricia Wells's recipes. I've got pasta in the pantry, fennel seeds in the garden and Chianti in the cellar -- this may be on my table this week.


Jersey Girl Cooks said...

Lovely! Your dishes ALWAYS look so good.

Anonymous said...

Grabbing the jug of Chianti now! This will be a perfect Saturday night treat.

Peter M said...

After reading the recipe and seeing the dish, it comes as no surprise that this is a Wells dish.

It's dramatic, nice family style plating and it's lunch time...pass me the platter please.

test it comm said...

What a tasty sounding pasta!

Patsyk said...

What a wonderful dish, perfect for just the family or having good friends over for a casual meal.

Prudy said...

I absolutely can not stop on my past kick. Here's another one to keep me going!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary! I am so sorry I missed a few of your posts! Unless I hit costco Japan, I may have trouble finding the sausage, do you think it would off-set the recipe to much if I use another spiced sausage?

What a cutie on the right! Is that your lovely little tot? Ours will be here next year = ) The acronym PTA is scaring me.

Mary Bergfeld said...

GJ, love you lots. That's my grandson. He has his mother's eyes and smile and he's as sweet as she was at that age. We are a polka dot family and our 2 youngest children are Asian. I'm so happy to hear your wonderful news. Blessings. As to mundane stuff such as sausage - yah any well seasoned sausage will do.

Allie said...

My husband loves fennel so I will have to make this for sure for him.

Maris said...

This looks so good that I almost bookmarked it - but then I remembered I don't like fennel! :) I'm sure I could substitute something else though, it sounds like a hearty meal!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Maris, thank you for stopping by. You could substitute dill or caraway seed if that would be more to your liking. I hope you'll be a regular visitor to my site.

Ruth Daniels said...

What a wonderful looking dish..with some of my very favorite ingredients. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. Think I'll just raise a glass to it right now.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Hi Ruth, I'm glad it's safely in your hands. Thanks for the hard work.

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