Sausage, fennel, onion and tomatoes make a robust pasta topping.
Turkey sausage flavored with fennel can be found in many markets. Look for mild or sweet Italian sausage. You can also use any type of sausage.
Fennel is a sometimes called sweet anise. It’s a large white bulb with celery-like stems and green, feathery leaves. It has a mild anise or licorice flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked. You can substitute celery for the fennel. The flavor will be different, but the recipe will still be tasty.
Fennel and Sausage Pasta
1/2 pound lean turkey sausage
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 medium fennel bulb, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 cup cauliflower florets broken into small pieces
1/4 pound spaghetti
1 cup canned, no-salt-added, crushed tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
Place a large saucepan with 3 to 4 quarts water on to boil for spaghetti. Cut sausage into 1/2-inch slices. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and saute 2 minutes. Remove sausage from skillet to a plate and add the chopped fennel, onion and cauliflower. Saute 5 minutes. As the vegetables start to color, return the sausage to the skillet for 2 minutes. Remove to a plate and add the tomatoes for 1 minute to warm through.
As soon as the water comes to a rolling boil, add the spaghetti and cook 8 to 9 minutes. Drain and add to the skillet with the tomatoes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, sausage and vegetables. Toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle parsley on top.
Per serving: 541 calories (29 percent from fat), 17.4 g fat (3.5 g saturated, 8.1 g monounsaturated), 84 mg cholesterol, 32.8 g protein, 64.6 g carbohydrates, 8.2 g fiber, 753 mg sodium.
Yield: 2 servings.