When I found out I was cooking from Manu's Menu this month, I got super excited. Her posts always look amazing and she has a wonderful assortment of Italian foods and otherwise. I knew I wanted to make a pasta dish from her site. She has so many great tutorials and pasta recipes, it seemed like the thing to do. I almost got sidetracked by her Curry puffs and Chicken Biryani. I even considered making her veal saltimbocca, but this recipe for Homemade Orchetti with Italian Sausage and Wilted Fennel Fronds really won me over.
I think this was the best pasta dish I've ever made, no exaggeration. My husband said he would pay for this at a restaurant and even though I thought I made too much pasta, we were pigs and ate all of it. It was delicious and flavorful while still being subtle. All of the flavors of the Italian sausage, fennel, saffron and cheese stood out on their own while not overpowering anything. It was a beautiful dish that will absolutely go into my regular rotation. I recommend making her homemade orchetti because it is so easy. Her tutorials are much better than I could every do, so take a look on her site if you're interested in shaping your own.
Thank you Manuela for introducing me to this wonderful dish!
Ingredients (for 2)
- 1/2 lb Italian sausage, casing removed (I use half mild and half hot)
- Green tops from 2 fennel bulbs
- 1/4 onion, sliced
- pinch of saffron
- 1/4 cup white wine
- water as needed
- olive oil
- salt to taste
- Fresh grated parmesan cheese for serving
- Orchetti Pasta (homemade or store bought, recipe follows)
- Shape homemade pasta with about 100 grams of durum wheat flour per person and enough water to make a stiff yet pliable dough after a few minutes of kneading. Great tutorials on shaping an be found here. Set pasta aside when done
- Bring salted water to a boil and cook the fennel tops until tender. Remove from water, drain and chop into small pieces. Reserve fennel water.
- Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed sautee pan, sautee onions in a little olive oil until tender. Add sausage and cook until well browned. Add fennel, saffron and white wine and cook 5 minutes or so and remove from heat.
- Cook pasta until al dente in your reserved fennel water, adding more water or salt as needed.
- Reheat sausage and fennel sauce and add cooked pasta with a Tbsp of the pasta water. Toss until well coated and serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.