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Fennel and Sausage Pasta

Fennel and sausage are a perfect match. My friend Cecily Cohen's favorite fennel recipe, which follows, is always a big hit.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 links of hot Italian sausage, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 bulb fennel, cut into 1/2-inch slices

1 tablespoon lightly crushed fennel seeds

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 16-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and smashed with hands

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Salt and pepper

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage until cooked through. Drain excess fat from pan.

Add remaining tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and add fennel slices and fennel seeds. Cook 4 to 5 minutes until softened. Add garlic, tomatoes and crushed red pepper.

Cover skillet, reduce heat and simmer an additional 6 to 8 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with fresh-cooked rotini pasta or spaghetti.

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