Bucatini Pasta with Fresh Fennel and Sweet Italian Sausage


1 pound bucatini pasta* (thick, hollow spaghetti)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
1 bulb fennel, trimmed, quartered and core cut away, very thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, very thinly sliced
2 cubanelle peppers, seeded and very thinly sliced**
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
1 (28-ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes (imported Italian tomatoes)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus some to pass
1 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded


Place a large pot of water on to boil for pasta. Salt water and add bucatini and cook to al dente.

While water comes to boil and pasta cooks, make the sauce. Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Add sausage to the skillet and as it cooks, break up the sausage into small pieces. When cooked, transfer sausage to a paper towel lined plate.

Return pan to heat and add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Add the garlic, fennel, onions and peppers. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Cook, over medium heat, stirring frequently, 7 to 8 minutes until vegetables are tender. Do not allow the fennel and onions to brown. Add the wine or stock, turn up the heat and reduce 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and the sausage. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.

Drain the pasta very well and add to the sauce. Sprinkle the pasta with 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, then toss pasta with sauce to combine. Transfer pasta to a large shallow platter and cover with the pasta with basil leaves. Serve with extra cheese.

bucatini-1 *Bucatini is a thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the center. The name comes from Italian: buco, meaning “hole,” while bucato means “pierced.”


Cubanelle_Peppers-1**Cubanelle peppers are a variety of sweet peppers. When unripe, cubanelle peppers are light yellowish-green in color, but will turn bright red if allowed to ripen. Compared to bell peppers, they have a thinner flesh, are longer, and a slightly more wrinkled appearance.


SOURCE:  Adapted from recipe by Rachael Ray