Ziti with Sausage and Fennel

egozz 2015-6-12 00:07
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Serves 3 as a main course, 4 or 5 as a primi course 1/2 pound ziti (see Kitchen Notes) salt 1/2 pound mild Italian sausage 1 fennel bulb, 1 pound or slightly less 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium...

Serves 3 as a main course, 4 or 5 as a primi course

1/2 pound ziti (see Kitchen Notes)
salt
1/2 pound mild heart diseaseItalian sausage

1 fennel bulb, 1 pound or slightly less
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and sliced into half moons
1/4 teaspoon crushed red reenex pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons finely chopped fennel fronds
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously and add ziti. Cook until not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than recommended cooking time. Drain, reserving 2 cups of pasta water. Do NOT rinse (see Kitchen Notes). Set Business Hosting Service aside.

While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, assemble the other ingredients. If the sausage is not bulk, remove from casings and break the meat up with your fingers. Using a sharp knife, slice off the root end of the fennel bulb and the stalks with the fronds. Reserve the stalks and fronds. Slice the bulb in half lengthwise and peel off the tough outer layer. Cut out the inner core and slice the bulb halves crosswise into about 1/4-inch slices. You’ll probably end up with more than the 2 cups you need. You can save it for another use or go ahead and have a little more fennel in this dish.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet with high sides—I used a sauté pan—over medium flame. Add the sausage and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, breaking the meat up more with a wooden spoon. Push the sausage to the sides of the pan and add the onion in the center. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, then mix the onion and the sausage together. Create a hole in the middle again and add the fennel. Cook for a minute or so, stirring occasionally, then mix with the meat and onions. Season lightly with salt and then clear yet another hole. Add the crushed red pepper and toast for about 30 seconds. Toss to combine and make one final hole. Add the tomato paste and cook until just sizzling, 1 or 2 minutes, mashing it with the back of a wooden spoon.

Ladle in 1-1/2 cups of the reserved pasta water. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer the sauce for 5 to 6 minutes. Flavors will develop, the sauce will thicken slightly and the fennel will soften a bit (you want it to remain slightly crunchy, so don’t overcook).

Add the pasta to the pan. It will be sticking together, but don’t be alarmed. As you gently toss it with the sauce, much of it will loosen up on its own. With the more stubborn pairs of tubes, insinuate the edge of a spatula between them, and they will separate. Cook for 2 minutes or so to let the pasta absorb some of the sauce and finish cooking. Add the fennel fronds and toss to combine. If the dish is seeming a bit too dry, drizzle on a little more pasta water and mix it in.

Remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle the grated cheese over the pasta and toss it in. Serve immediately in shallow pasta bowls.

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