Tested and Perfected by Food and Wine

Fusilli with Fennel Sausage

  • SERVINGS: 4-6
  • FAST

Here's a hearty pasta dish that will stick to your ribs. It's a mix of well-seasoned pork sausage with a hint of fennel married with a dense, reduced red wine sauce. The wine replaces water or stock, adding additional acidity, balance, character and flavor. Search out a well-seasoned pork sausage sold either in bulk or in casings (you'll need to remove the meat from the casings).

Plus: Pasta Recipes and Tips

  1. 1 pound sausage meat, broken into small pieces
  2. 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  3. 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  4. 2 cups of red wine, such as Chianti
  5. 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  6. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1 ounce)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  8. 1 pound fusilli or penne
  1. In a nonreactive skillet large enough to hold the pasta, brown the sausage meat over moderately high heat, breaking it up into fine bits. Stir in the fennel seeds and tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes. Slowly pour the wine all over the sausage, reduce the heat to moderate and simmer until most of the wine has evaporated, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Whisk in the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and pepper.
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until tender but firm to the bite. Lightly drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  4. Add the pasta to the skillet with the sausage meat and toss thoroughly until well coated. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the egg mixture, tossing with forks until each piece of pasta is evenly coated. Add the reserved pasta water a few tablespoons at a time until the pasta is nicely coated with sauce. Serve immediately in warmed bowls.

Suggested Pairing

This pasta can take a big wine. Patricia Wells loves it with a fine Piedmont red, such as a Dolcetto d'Alba.