Caramelized Fennel Paccheri with Sausage & Pistachios

A big bowl of caramelized fennel paccheri! Large, tube-shaped pasta tossed in a white wine butter sauce with italian sausage, onions & fennel, lots of garlic, wilted spinach, grated pecorino cheese, fresh herbs, and buttery pistachios over top! Easy enough to whip up on a weeknight, yet special enough to make for a dinner party…just add a big salad alongside!

Caramelized Fennel Paccheri

Caramelized Fennel Paccheri

caramelized fennel paccheri – the details

One of the most popular pastas on the blog over the years has been this spicy paccheri with sausage & greens. It’s a great winter pasta with wilted chard and hints of fried rosemary.

I was craving this recipe one night recently, but decided to make a slightly more “springy” version. It’s still cozy and comforting with hearty sausage flavor and a silky-smooth white wine butter sauce, but it has some springtime additions – caramelized fennel, fresh spinach, lots of herbs, and buttery pistachios.

Caramelized Fennel Paccheri

Caramelized Fennel Paccheri

And the result was DELICIOUS. So of course I had to share it with you. Enjoy!

If you’re looking for more spring pasta recipes, here are a few to try:

Lemon Ricotta Pasta
Asparagus Pasta with Whipped Ricotta & Breadcrumbs
Spring Vegetable Brown Butter Gnocchi


Caramelized Fennel Paccheri with Sausage & Pistachios

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paccheri tossed in a white wine butter sauce with italian sausage, caramelized onions & fennel, lots of garlic, wilted spinach, grated pecorino cheese, fresh herbs, and buttery pistachios over top

servings: 4


  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup chopped roasted, salted pistachios
  • olive oil, as needed
  • ½ lb raw, mild italian sausage
  • ¾ lb paccheri
  • kosher salt
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cored + thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
  • ¼ lb fresh spinach
  • ¾ cup grated pecorino cheese, plus more for topping
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and let it melt. Add the chopped pistachios. Toast for a minute or so until fragrant. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  3. Heat a large Dutch oven (or heavy-bottomed pot) over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the sausage. Use a wooden spoon to break it into smaller pieces as it begins to brown. Cook for 5-6 minutes until browned and cooked through, stirring often.
  4. Transfer the sausage to a plate. Add the red onion, fennel, and a pinch of salt to the pot. Cook for 10 minutes or so until caramelized and tender. Meanwhile, drop the paccheri in the water and cook for 2 minutes less than the package’s instructions, stirring often.
  5. Stir the garlic and crushed red pepper into the vegetables. Cook for another 30 seconds. Pour in the white wine. Retrieve a ½ cup of starchy pasta water from the pasta pot and add it in with the wine. Let the liquid come to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 3-4 minutes until slightly thickened. When the pasta is done cooking, drain it and add it to the pot. Stir well to coat and continue to cook for a minute or so.
  6. Stir in the spinach, sausage, and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Let heat through. Gradually stir in the pecorino cheese until it melts into the sauce. Lastly, fold in the basil and parsley.
  7. Taste the pasta and season with more salt if needed. Pour the pasta and all of the sauce into a large serving bowl. Garnish with the pistachios, more pecorino cheese, and any extra fresh herbs.

shop the dish: caramelized fennel paccheri with sausage & pistachios

Caramelized Fennel Paccheri

8 thoughts on “Caramelized Fennel Paccheri with Sausage & Pistachios

  1. Such an amazing recipe. I love all of these flavours, particularly the fennel and basil. Made this for dinner tonight and it was a big hit.

  2. I’ve made this time and time again and keep coming back, especially now that fennel is in season again! The addition of the fresh herbs and spinach really make this dish sing.

    1. I’m so glad to hear that you like this one, Lynne! Thank you for such great feedback. Fennel is definitely one of my favorite vegetables to use in pasta dishes!

  3. The detailed instructions and beautiful accompanying photos make me feel confident that I can recreate this dish at home. I can’t wait to try it out for myself! Thank you for sharing this fantastic recipe.

    1. Hi Camila – I am SO glad to hear that you’re excited to try this one! I hope you enjoy, and thank you for the feedback! -Kayla

  4. That was delicious even without the basil. I just didn’t have any. Can’t wait to make it again with the summer produce from the garden. Great recipe.

  5. Absolutely delicious!! I made this for supper last night and I think I’ll have it for breakfast . I can’t wait to try more of your recipes..

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