As a cookbook author and culinary instructor, I write a lot of recipes. Probably the most favourite pasta recipe of the masses would by my famous sausage and fennel pasta.
This recipe is in my most recent ‘best of’ cookbook, called The Best In Your Kitchen.
How it became famous is that I have made it for years for family gatherings and everyone always asks for the recipe. My response was always: “I don’t have it written down – it’s just in my head.”
So, finally, I put it to paper.
For your information, vegetable stock paste is vegetable stock that has been reduced to a paste form. It can be found in most major grocery stores down the broth or spice aisles. The most popular brand is “Better Than Bouillon,” made by Superior Touch. It comes in small glass jars and other flavours such as beef, chicken, and turkey.
By the way, the words “stock” and “broth” are interchangeable.
Chef Dez’s famous sausage and fennel pasta:
• 3 tbsp olive oil;
• 500g mild Italian sausage, casings removed;
• 1 medium onion, diced very small;
• 4-6 large cloves of garlic, minced;
• 2 tbsp dry fennel seed;
• 1 tsp salt;
• few grinds of black pepper;
• 1 – 156ml can tomato paste;
• 1 – 796ml can of diced tomatoes;
• 1 cup of full-bodied red wine;
• 1 tsp vegetable stock paste;
• 2 tbsp white sugar;
• 400g penne pasta;
• 1 cup whipping cream.
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish. Grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, for garnish. Add the olive oil, sausage, onion, garlic, fennel seed, salt and pepper to a large heavy bottomed pan.
Turn the heat on to medium-high and cook, while breaking up the sausage, until the sausage is fully cooked and in small pieces, approximately eight to 12 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, wine, vegetable paste, and sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce over medium heat until the sauce becomes very thick, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Cook your pasta in boiling, liberally salted water to desired consistency (approximately 13 to 15 minutes for penne, but read your package instructions) during this step.
Once the sauce has reduced, stir in the whipping cream and then the cooked and drained pasta. Serve immediately garnished with parsley and grated parmigiano reggiano.