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Playing Braised Sausages with Macaroni, Cheese Sauce and Fennel


  • 2 pounds sweet Italian sausage in casings
  • EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling plus 1 tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 head fennel, trimmed and quartered, thinly sliced and a handful of fronds, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 round tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus some for topping
  • 1 pound Italian macaroni or ziti


Serves: 4


Place sausages in a skillet and add enough water to come halfway up the sides of the links. Drizzle EVOO over them and place on stove over high heat; bring to boil then reduce heat to medium. Cook to evaporate the liquid, and brown and crisp the casings.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

In a medium pot or deep skillet, heat EVOO, a turn of the pan, with butter. When butter melts into oil, add fennel, fronds, onions and garlic; season with salt and pepper to taste and stir to soften 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the fennel and stir a minute then add wine and deglaze the pan. Stir in stock and milk, and cook to thicken, 5-7 minutes.

Cook macaroni to al dente.

Stir cheese into fennel sauce, combine with pasta and serve the macaroni with sausages alongside.