Aired September 7, 2016
“I prefer the nutty and earthy flavor of farro or whole wheat spaghetti with this but delicious with semolina pasta as well.”
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound sweet Italian sausage with fennel seeds, cut from casings or bought in bulk
3/4 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 bulb fennel, quartered and thinly sliced, reserve a handful of coarsely chopped fennel fronds for garnish
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup crème fraîche or Mascarpone cheese
1 pound farro, whole wheat or semolina spaghetti
EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
A fat handful grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus additional to serve
Chopped hazelnuts, toasted
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with about 1 tablespoon of oil, a turn of the pan. Add sausage and brown and crumble; remove to a plate.
Add another turn of olive oil to the pan and the mushrooms. Brown well until beefy in smell and deeply brown in color; season then remove to the plate with the sausage. Add another turn of olive oil to the pan then add onions and fennel. Reduce heat and caramelize veggies, about 30 minutes.
Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
Add sausage and mushrooms to the onions and fennel, and reheat through. Add wine and let it evaporate. Add stock and crème fraiche or mascarpone; reduce heat to a simmer.
Cook pasta to al dente in salted water. Reserve 1/2 cup starchy, salty water before draining pasta.
Toss pasta with sauce and cheese, a drizzle of EVOO and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with more cheese and nuts; sprinkle with fennel fronds to garnish.