Ziti with Sausage, Onions, and Fennel
1 (1 1/4 lb.) fennel bulb
6 qt. water
2 1/4 tsp. salt, divided
1 lb. uncooked ziti (short, tube-shaped pasta)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
2 c. (1/4 inch thick) onion wedges (about 2 medium)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 c. tomato paste
1/4 c. (1 oz.) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
Trim fennel, reserving fronds and bulb. Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise; cut each bulb half lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Cut bulb slice into 2-inch long pieces. Chop fennel fronds to measure 1/3 cup.
Bring 6 quarts of water and 2 teaspoons of salt to a boil in a large stockpot. Stir in pasta; partially cover, and return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook 8 minutes or until the pasta is almost al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 2 cups of cooking water.
While pasta cooks, heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove sausage from casings. Add sausage to Dutch oven; cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring to crumble. Push sausage to one side of pan. Add onion to open space in pan, cook 1 minute or until onion begins to soften. Stir onion into sausage. Push onion mixture to one side of the pan. Add fennel bulb to open space in pan; cook 1 minute or until fennel begins to soften, Stir fennel into onion mixture. Stir in pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 minute. Move the sausage and fennel mixture to outside edges of pan, leaving an open space in center. Add 1/4 cup tomato paste to open space in pan; cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Stir tomato paste into fennel mixture.
Add reserved 2 cups cooking water to pan; bring to a boil Reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until fennel is tender. Add fennel fronds and pasta; cook 2 minutes or until pasta is al dente, tossing to combine. Remove from heat; stir in cheese. Serve immediately.
Recipe from Cooking Light
Nutrition information per serving:
Total fat 8.3g
Saturated fat 2.9g
Dietary fiber 3.8g