Italian sausage and fennel penne pasta

After a hectic weekend in Leeds, followed by this week’s mystery illness, I haven’t had the time/ physical capacity to bake (sob); so instead, I’m cheating and bringing you one of my dad’s top pasta dishes.

This is, without doubt, one of my all time favourites, owing to the richness of the meat and sauce mixture, and the unusual taste that the fennel seeds deliver. It’s hearty, it’s warming, and it’s more than a little bit satisfying.

You’ll need:

  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1–2 fresh red chillies (stalks removed)
  • 6 quality sausages (we used finest Italian fennel and herb sausages)
  • 1 heaped tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • A few sprigs of fresh basil
  • 500g dried penne
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for a generous sprinkling over the finished dish

 Make the magic happen:

  1. Trim your spring onions, carrot and celery, then roughly chop and throw into a food processor with the chillies
  2. Blitz before adding the sausages, followed by 1 heaped tsp of fennel seeds and 1 tsp of oregano
  3. Pulse the mixture until well mixed, then spoon into a hot frying pan with a good glug of olive oil, stirring it to break up the mixture

    It'll get tastier

    It’ll get tastier

  4. Cook your pasta in a large saucepan on a low heat with salted boiling water
  5. Whilst that’s cooking, crush 4 unpeeled cloves of garlic into your sausage mixture

    Glorious garlic

    Glorious garlic

  6. Pour in 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

    The vinegar really packs a punch

    The vinegar really packs a punch

  7. Followed by the tinned tomatoes

    Toms: my most hated ingredient; but luckily the flavour is taken over

    Toms: my most hated ingredient; but luckily the flavour is taken over

  8. When your pasta is cooked, drain (saving a wineglass full of the cooking water). Add the pasta to the sauce and meat mix, along with some of the cooking water (you’re looking for a silky consistency)
  9. Tip into a large serving bowl, cover with a generous grating of Parmesan, and sprinkle over a few freshly torn basil leaves



Enjoy with a large glass of full bodied red, and a few slices of garlic flatbread.

Love Emma xx


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