Although the weather where I am doesn’t quite feel like it yet, it’s October so I’m officially ready for fall recipes! While I can eat a pesto pasta year round the added touch of fennel brings on a nice flavor and is the perfect seasonal ingredient to switch it up this time of year. Fennel can be a little intimidating to cook with as it’s not used very common in all cuisines and is known for it’s almost licorice like flavor and scent; however, when sauteed with shallot and garlic early on in the recipe where it gets ample cooking time and seasoning it actually turns quite sweet and adds a really nice flavor punch to dishes. It pairs perfectly with sausage and oregeno which are thoughtfully added to this recipe to bring everything together for the perfect balanced palate.
Something else I love about this dish? It comes together in one skillet … no balancing multiple things cooking and reduced dishes. It makes it easy and stress free. If you wanted to you could choose to speed up the cooking process by boiling the pasta in a separate pan while you cook the veggies/sausage/sauce in the other — you could probably have this ready about 10-15 minutes faster. If you do this do make sure to reserve a little pasta water to stir in though. One of my favorite things about cooking pastas as a one pot dish is you get all the starch that boils off the pasta into your sauce which makes it naturally creamy without adding any dairy.
How do I prepare the fennel? For this recipe we only use the fennel bulb which is the large white part at the bottom of the fennel. Slice off the stalks and the bottom, remove outer layer and rinse well. Cut or peel off some of the fennel bulb and slice into strips similar to an onion!
Is this recipe family friendly? While this is always ultimatly up to you this dish could be made a little more baby/toddler friendly by cooking in water to reduce the sodium content. You can also omit putting sausage on your little ones plate depending on their age and if you have started serving them higher sodium content meats. How much spice you add is also ultimately up to your little ones palate. I personally loved sharing a little of this with my toddler as it was a great way to introduce her to fennel which she really enjoyed!
Can I double this recipe? Yes! You can double, triple or whatever you need to do to make enough servings for your family. Just be sure to use a deeper bottomed pan to account for the extra liquid volume and remember toward the end of the pasta cooking to turn heat up or down to adjust for liquid to pasta ratio depending on the heat of your stove. There is truly a vast different in the heat of medium high on certaing gas to electric stoves!
One Pan Sausage & Fennel Pesto Pasta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot, diced
- 50 g fennel bulb, thinly sliced (approx one handful or 1/2 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp oregeno
- 1 tsp red chili flakes (optional or adjustable)
- 2 italian sausage links, casing removed
- 2.5 cups chicken stock, preferably low sodium (can just use water too)
- 150 g falfalle (or pasta of choice)
- 1/4 cup pesto
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
- small handful fresh basil (optional)
- Heat a large skillet with the olive oil over medium heat .(Skillet must be tall enough to later add 2.5 cups of liquid and the dry pasta). Add in diced shallot and sliced fennel and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occassionally.1 tbsp olive oil, 1 shallot, diced, 50 g fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- Add garlic, oregegno, chili flakes (omit if you don't want any heat) and stir about 30 seconds until garlic is fragrant.3 cloves garlic, minced, 1 tsp oregeno, 1 tsp red chili flakes
- Add in sausage with casings removed, break up and cook until fully cooked through/browned, about 3-5 minutes.2 italian sausage links, casing removed
- Add chicken stock and pasta and turn heat to a medium high. (If you prefer a lower sodium dish you can use just water and add salt at the end to your taste level). Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occassionally to make sure all noodles get submerged and equally cooked. Adjust cooking temperature down a little if you have a really high heat gas stove or up a little towards the end if it feels that the pasta is done and there is still too much liquid. You want there to be a little pasta water remaining but not much.2.5 cups chicken stock, preferably low sodium, 150 g falfalle
- Stir in pesto and half of the parmesan cheese. Taste test to see if you want to add any salt, pepper or additional red pepper flakes.1/4 cup pesto, 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
- Plate and top with additional parmesan cheese to taste. If you have fresh basil to garnish add this now too, serve and enjoy!small handful fresh basil
As always I hope you enjoy this recipe, and if you try it I’d love to hear about it in the comments!