Just by looking a this picture you can almost taste how delicious this is. My son and I were watching an old Ina Garten episode from the summer of 2017 on pasta dishes and saw her making this recipe. My mouth was watering by the end of the episode and I knew that I needed to make this. So off to the store this morning to get the necessary ingredients. My pasta loving son was pleased and so was my hubby. I even think this is foodie friends worthy.
3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cups chopped fennel (1 large fennel bulb)
1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion
1 ¼ pounds Sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
2 tsp. minced garlic (2 cloves)
½ teaspoon whole fennel seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cups half-and-half
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 lb. Rigatoni
½ cup chopped, fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 cup freshly grated Reggiano Parmigiano cheese, divided
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset, over medium heat. Add the fennel and onion and sauté for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the sausage and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, crumbling it with a fork, until nicely browned. Add the garlic, crushed fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. black pepper and cook for one minute.
Pour in the wine, bring to a boil and add the heavy cream, half-and-half, and tomato paste. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 2 tbsp. salt and cook the rigatoni according to package directions. Drain and add to the sauce, stirring to coat the pasta. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the sauce.
Off the heat, stir in the parsley and ½ cup of the Reggiano Parmigiano. Serve hot in shallow bowls with passing the remaining ½ cup of Parmigiano.