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 – 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.
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:Print
Caramelized Fennel Paccheri with Sausage & Pistachios
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
- 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
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Let melt. Add the chopped pistachios. Toast for a few minutes until fragrant. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- 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. Stir often until the sausage is caramelized and cooked through.
- Meanwhile, add the paccheri to a large pot of salted, boiling water and cook for 3 minutes less than the package’s instructions.
- Transfer the sausage to a plate. Add the red onion and fennel to the pot. Saute for 6 minutes or so until caramelized and tender. Season with a pinch of salt. Stir in the garlic and crushed red pepper. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
I always like to save extra pasta water (more than the ½ cup) before draining the pasta. If the sauce thickens too much, you can use this water to loosen it back up.
shop the dish: caramelized fennel paccheri with sausage & pistachios