Roasted Fennel and Sausage Orecchiette

By: beachcritters

March 9, 2013


Pasta has always been one of my favorite go-to comfort foods.  it’s probably not the best thing for my diet, but on a cold night there is nothing better.  For someone like me, however,  the basic tomato sauce can be a bit boring so I’m always trying to find something that ranks a little higher on the taste thermometer.

I think I found something.

This had everything I was looking for…ingredients that could stand alone individually on flavor, lots of color and it was not your typical spaghetti and red sauce.  I wasn’t sure how it was going to go over with my husband…he is after all, a sauce man and you typically cannot change is mind.  The pressure was on…..

I adapted this from Giada’s cooking show.  One of the things I changed was the sausage.  You can use whatever sausage you like but I opted for a sausage made at Whole Foods.  Chicken sausage with red peppers and garlic..  One of their best in my opinion with a lot of zest and flavor.  And for me, I roasted the fennel just a bit longer than the time given, only because I like mine a bit more charred.

The aroma when cooking this meal was amazing, the colors were beautiful and the taste was so flavorful.  I don’t think my husband even realized there wasn’t a sauce.  I must have changed his way of thinking because he went back for more!

I love this meal and I think you will too.  Pair it with a nice salad and some crusty bread and you’ve got a comfort food that your guests will all enjoy!

Roasted Fennel and Sausage Orecchiette

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy


  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces orecchiette pasta (aproximately 3 1/2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large spicy chicken sausage links, casings removed
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine, such as a good chardonnay
  • 16 oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
  • 2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and drained, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan


  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.  Spray a medium baking sheet with the vegetable oil cooking spray.

  2. IMG_4567

  3. Toss the fennel, oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Arrange the fennel in single layer on the baking sheet.  Roast until golden and tender, about 30 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. (it should taste like sea water).  Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes.  Drain and reserve about 1 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

  5. IMG_4568

  6. Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet.  Add the sausage and break into small pieces using the back of a wooden spoon.  Cook until golden and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.  Add the onion, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.

  7. IMG_4569

  8. Add the garlic and wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Cook until all the wine has evaporated, about 1-2 minutes.

  9. IMG_4570

  10. Add the tomatoes, parsley and capers.  Cook for an extra minute.  Add the pasta, fennel and the cheese.

  11. Toss until all ingredients are coated, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen the pasta.

  12. IMG_4579


Published on by

Leave a Reply