A rainbow of veggies are cooked with sausage and fennel seed, then tossed with penne and cheese for a quick and easy pasta dinner.
"Make this with Italian pork sausage or plant-based hot sausage," Rach says. "I made both at the same time and each got great reviews."
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 pound hot Italian or hot plant-based Italian-style sausage, removed from casings
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed, or ⅓ palmful (optional—if you use sweet sausage rather than hot, the sausage may contain fennel seed)
- 1 large bunch broccolini (or 2 small bunches, about ¾ - 1 pound), trimmed then chopped
- 1 red field (mild) or cubanelle (light green mild) pepper , seeded and finely chopped
- 1 red or yellow onion, finely chopped
- About ¾-1 cup semi-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped (or sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water until soft, then drained and chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or crushed and chopped
- 1 pound penne, mezze rigatoni, or orecchiette pasta
- ½ cup pickled Italian hot or sweet cherry peppers, chopped
- Grated pecorino cheese, about ½-¾ cup to toss and more to pass at table
Heat a large pot of water to a rolling boil for pasta.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, add the sausage or plant-based sausage and fennel seeds, brown and crumble, then move off to edges of pan, pooling drippings in center of pan. Add the broccolini, peppers, onions and tomatoes, soften 3-5 minutes, stirring broccolini frequently, add garlic and stir all ingredients together.
Meanwhile, salt boiling water and drop pasta, undercook 1 minute from package directions and reserve ¾-1 cup of water before draining.
Add pasta water to sauce and let it absorb, then toss pasta with sauce, pickled peppers and grated cheese, toss for 1 minute.