Like any normal human being, I have a deep affinity for just about any pasta dish. 😉 And like any busy person, I also have a deep affinity for one pan meals, whether it be on the stovetop or a tray bake. But I’ve had a hard time nailing down a great one pan pasta dish that is reliably good, where the pasta doesn’t get overcooked and the flavors meld together just perfectly. Pleased to report though, that this dish definitely gets it right.
Combining the deep, aromatic flavors of fresh fennel and anise from the sausage, with the creamy texture of the pasta, and just a touch of green from kale to healthify it, this dish covers all your dietary needs while also being incredibly delicious. Bonus that is rich and satisfying, without feeling heavy. Read on for the recipe.
Ingredients Needed to Make this Italian Sausage & Pasta One Pan Dish:
To make this super easy Italian sausage & pasta dish, you’ll need minimal ingredients that can be found at any small or large grocery store. Start with picking up 1 fennel bulb, and cut off the fronds, saving the little wispy leaves for a garnish. You’ll also need 1 lb of Mild Italian sausage, which is 3-4 sausage links, Lacinato kale, yellow onions, Parmesan cheese, a wide thick pasta noodle and chicken broth. And of course salt and pepper to flavor the dish, as well as a bit of olive oil to saute up the sausage and veggies. You’ll also need a slotted spoon and either a dutch oven or a large heavy bottom skillet. Make sure you cut the core out of the fennel bulb, which can easily be done by cutting the bulb in half, and then making a v-shaped carving in the bottom center of the bulb.
How to Make This One Pan Pasta Dish:
The hardest part about making this dish is prepping the veggies, which really just entails thinly slicing the onion and fennel bulb, so not hard at all haha! Once that is done, the dish comes together very quickly.
Start by heating your oil in a heavy bottom pan, then sauteing the sausage. Once you remove the sausage and set it aside, it’s time to cook up the onion, fennel and kale in the already warm oil. Then add your stock and pasta, cover and cook, and stir your sausage back in. That’s it! Stir in a good dose of Parmesan cheese as well, to ensure a creamier texture, and then lay your garnishes down. I really love using wide egg noodles in this dish because of how quickly they cook up, usually in less than 6 minutes. So counting prep and cooking from start to finish, you can have this all done and served in less than 45 minutes.
What is Fennel & What Does it Taste Like?
Fennel is a root vegetable that is actually in the carrot family. While it originated in the Mediterranean, it is now grown all over the world in dry coastal soils, and has a distinct, sweet flavor similar to anise. When raw, the texture is similar to that of celery, and when cooked it becomes translucent, looking very similar to that of an onion.
What Type of Pasta & Sausage Should You Use?
I suggest using a long and wide noodle that can hold up to the heavier textures of the other ingredients such as a Pappardelle. I especially like that egg pastas like pappardelle cook up in a short amount of time. The pasta I used in this recipe is by a brand name HemisFares and is just labeled as a “lacy ribbon egg noodle.” I’ve cooked with these a few times and they are consistently good.
For your sausage, I definitely recommend sticking with a mild pork sausage, as it has a great anise flavor that perfectly complements the fennel. You could go with sweet Italian sausage, but I’ve found that some sweet sausages can be *too sweet* and will clash with the earthiness of the fennel in this dish. It doesn’t matter if you use pork or chicken sausage, although I find that pork tends to be more flavorful overall.
After you’ve cooked up your sausage, fennel, onions and kale, add in the chicken stock and heat till boiling. Then very gently add in your pasta, and stir till submerged in the liquid. The stir in your cheese and enjoy the creamy goodness!
To serve, simply dish out in bowls or plates, and garnish with some shaved Parmesan cheese, fennel fronds and some crushed red peppers. The dish tastes great with a light Pinot Noir.
I hope you enjoy this straightforward pasta dish and find the unique mix of flavors as delicious as we do! What I love most about this dish is it’s incredibly satisfying, without feeling heavy. It definitely feels light but is also very rich and comforting, which my stomach most prefers 🙂
Please let me know if you have any questions, and if you make this recipe and enjoy it, I hope you’d consider giving it a review and rating. See below for the recipe print out!
Italian Sausage and Fennel One Pan Pasta Dish
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb mild Italian sausage casings removed
- 1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
- 1 large fennel bulb cored and thinly sliced
- 2 cups chopped Lacinato kale
- 32 oz Chicken broth
- 1 8 oz package wide egg noodle pasta
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or large skillet.
- Saute up the sausage until cooked through, then scoop out and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
- Add the onions to the pan and cook till translucent, about 6-8 minutes, then add in the fennel bulb and kale. Season generously with salt & pepper.
- Add the stock to the pan and bring to a boil. Then add the pasta and gently stir in till submerged. Cook according to package directions. If using an egg noodle, this will be 4-6 minutes.
- Gently stir back in the sausage and Parmesan cheese, and serve.