Cream/ Hearty Dinners/ Pasta/ Pork

Sausage and Fennel Pasta

September 7, 2020 by Chris Collins

This sausage and fennel pasta is wrapped in a dreamy cream sauce. It’s quick, easy and outrageously delicious!

overhead shot of pasta on white plate with silver fork on wooden background

Sausage and Fennel

Sausage and fennel is one of the most glorious (and underrated) flavour combinations. When you throw it in a creamy pasta things get real good real quick!

What type of sausage to use?

Ideally you’re looking for smoked sausage, something that’s already cooked through. You can use regular sausages, just squeeze out the meat from the casing. Sweet Italian sausage works nicely. In all cases just make sure it’s pork you’re using.

Fresh Fennel for the win!

By using fresh fennel you gain the texture as well as the flavour (as opposed to fennel seeds). Fennel has quite a pungent smell and taste, but when you cook it down (here I fry it in butter, obviously) it mellows out the flavour. It’s definitely apparent in this dish, but certainly not overwhelming.

Can I use Fennel Seeds?

I’ve personally never used seeds in this recipe, but if you want to give it a bash I recommend grinding the seeds into a powder. Around 1 tsp should work nicely. However again, can you really resist fresh strips of fennel softened and fried in butter? Can you!?!? Sorry. I’m passionate about butter.

overhead shot of pasta on serving spoon with skillet of pasta blurred behind

Pasta with Fennel and Sausage

A lot of pasta fennel sausage recipes are actually tomato based, or at least a ‘creamy tomato’ kind of style. Here we’re going for a more creamy style pasta sauce. I love the rich, buttery tones of the sauce with the sweet, anise-like flavours of the fennel. It totally works. Plus, if you’ve been a reader of mine for a while you know a creamy pasta recipe hits the blog at least once a fortnight so here we are 😂

How to make Pasta with Fennel and Sausage (process shots)

  1. Add sausage to a dash of oil.
  2. Brown both sides & remove.
  3. Melt butter.
  4. Fry onion, fennel and garlic.
  5. Add sausage back in.
  6. Pour in cream, chicken stock and fresh thyme.
  7. Simmer then add parmesan.
  8. Stir in pasta.

8 step by step photos showing how to make sausage and fennel pasta

Serving Fennel Sausage Pasta

Once plated up I LOVE sprinkling over a few pinches of smoked paprika. Bit left field I know, but it not only adds a pop of colour, but also brings out those gorgeous smoky tones of the sausage.

Can I reheat leftovers?

Creamy pasta dishes are notorious for going greasy upon reheating. As such, I recommend reheating over a low heat on the stove, using a splash of milk or stock to loosen up the sauce again. Keep gently stirring to avoid the sauce breaking.

side shot of pasta on white plate garnished with pinches of smoked paprika

If you’re looking for another gorgeous sausage and fennel combo be sure to check out my epic Sausage and Fennel Lasagne!

For more similar quick and easy pasta dinners check out these too:

Creamy Pasta Recipes

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How to make Sausage and Fennel Pasta (Full Recipe & Video)

overhead shot of pasta on white plate with silver fork on wooden background

Sausage and Fennel Pasta

This sausage and fennel pasta is wrapped in a dreamy cream sauce. It's quick, easy and outrageously delicious!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings (click & slide): 4
Calories: 829kcal
Cost per serving: £2 / $2.50

Equipment:

  • Large Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon
  • Large Pot & Colander
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Fine Cheese Grater
  • Jug (for stock & Cream)

Ingredients (check list):

  • 12.3oz / 350g Penne Pasta (or other short cut pasta)
  • 9oz / 250g Smoked Sausage, sliced into small rounds (see notes)
  • 1 cup / 240ml Chicken Stock (preferably low salt)
  • 1 cup / 240ml Double/Heavy Cream, at room temp
  • 1 medium bulb of Fresh Fennel, halved, cored, and thinly sliced (around the size of a large onion)
  • 1 medium White Onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 fat cloves of Garlic, finely diced/minced
  • 1 heaped tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup / 40g freshly grated Parmesan
  • 4 pinches of Smoked Paprika, to serve
  • Olive Oil, as needed
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  • Sausage: In a large pan over medium-high heat add a drizzle of olive oil. Add in your sausage slices, then spread out and leave to fry until they begin to crisp & brown. Flip the pieces over, then fry until the other side goes nice and crispy. Remove from pan and lower heat to medium.
  • Onion & Fennel: melt in 2 tbsp butter, then add in your slices of onion & fennel. Fry until golden and soft (around 10mins) then add in garlic and fry for a couple of minutes longer. Add sausage back in.
  • Pasta: Pop your pasta in heavily salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain when needed, scooping a cup of starchy pasta water out just beforehand.
  • Sauce: Pour in stock and cream, then add in thyme and give it a good stir. Keep on a simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, stirring occasionally (another 10mins or so). Stir in parmesan then season to taste with salt and pepper. Add in pasta and stir to coat, using your starchy pasta water to thin out if needed. The sauce should coat the pasta nicely. If it's too thin/watery just keep in on a simmer and stir until it begins to cling to the pasta.
  • Serve: Serve up individual portions with a few pinches of smoked paprika. Enjoy!

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Sausage - You preferably want it pre-cooked/smoked. If you're in the UK then Mattessons smoked sausage does the job nicely. You can also use uncooked sausage, you'll just obviously have to fry in until it's fully cooked through. Sweet Italian sausage works great. In all cases just make sure it's pork you're using.
b) Fennel - Fennel has a very pungent smell/taste when it's raw, but when you cook in down in butter it mellows out nicely. Fresh fennel works best here because you get the added texture (in comparison to fennel seeds).
c) Starchy Pasta Water - Important to make sure you not only heavily season the pasta water (so it doesn't dilute the flavour of the sauce) but also important to make sure you scoop it out JUST before draining, just so it's nice and starchy. The more starchy it is the better it'll emulsify the sauce. You may not need to use much at all, the sauce does dry out quickly though so it's nice to have just in case.
d) Storage - Allow to cool and tightly cover in the fridge for 2-3 days. I recommend reheating over low heat on the stove with a splash of milk or stock to loosen up the sauce. I don't recommend using the microwave, creamy pasta dishes tend to go greasy upon reheating if you don't loosen up the sauce again over low heat.
e) Calories - Based on the whole recipe shared between 4 people. Calories per serving.

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Sausage and Fennel Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 829 Calories from Fat 445
% Daily Value*
Fat 49.44g76%
Saturated Fat 24.378g122%
Trans Fat 0.11g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.01g
Monounsaturated Fat 17.557g
Cholesterol 145mg48%
Sodium 825mg34%
Potassium 715mg20%
Carbohydrates 79.09g26%
Fiber 11.7g47%
Sugar 4.14g5%
Protein 20.15g40%
Vitamin A 2120IU42%
Vitamin C 8.3mg10%
Calcium 191mg19%
Iron 2.22mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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