Fusilli with Fennel and Sweet Sausage

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 leeks, white part only – thinly sliced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage – casing removed and crumbled
  • 1 lb. fusilli pasta
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • handful of fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese

Directions

  • In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the leeks, fennel, and salt ant pepper to taste.  Saute until vegetables begin to soften (about 5 minutes).  Add wine and cook until reduced by half.  Add chicken stock, cover and cook until vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes).
  • Bring large pot of salted water to boil.  Meanwhile, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy frying pan over high heat.  Add the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon.  Cook until well browned and season with salt and pepper. Pour off most of the fat leaving just a bit for flavor.
  • Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions.
  • Add sausage to pot with fennel and simmer for a few minutes to blend flavors.  (You should have some liquid left in the pot to form a sauce.  If not, add a bit of warm water or chicken stock.)  Taste – adjust seasoning and add a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Drain the pasta and put into a large shallow bowl.  Add another drizzle of olive oil, the basil and parsley and about 3 tablespoons of cheese.  Toss.  Add the fennel mixture and toss again.
  • Serve immediately . Pass the remainder of the cheese in a dish at the table.
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