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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
  • Salt
  • 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


Serves: 4


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.