Sausage & wild fennel ragu

Sausage & wild fennel ragu

By
From
Sicily
Serves
4 as a main course or 6 as a starter

Wild fennel grows everywhere but most of us ignore it. It sprouts up merrily in early spring in the UK; it is bright green and feathery, then becomes darker over the months and finally blossoms into yellow flowers that yield the seeds in autumn. Do seek it out; you can usually find it in hedgerows. Fresh ricotta is often stirred into hot pasta in Sicily; sometimes it can be dry, in which case stir through a little cream at the same time.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large leek, trimmed and finely chopped
500g italian rusk-free sausages
5 tablespoons red wine
small handful wild fennel, finely chopped
or 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
salt
freshly ground black pepper
100g ricotta
75ml double cream, (optional)
25g finely grated parmesan, (optional)

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the leek for around 5 minutes. Meanwhile, squeeze the sausage meat from the skins and crumble it into the pan with the leek. Fry over a medium to low heat until the meat is browned. Add the red wine and let it evaporate for around 5 minutes, then stir in the wild fennel (keep a little for garnish) and some pepper. Let the ragu cook slowly over a low heat for around 30 minutes. Taste and add a little salt if necessary (Italian sausages tend to be quite salty so go easy). Just before serving, stir in the ricotta and cream, if using, then add just-cooked pasta to the pan. Stir through and serve garnished with the reserved fennel and, if liked, some Parmesan on top.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Sicily
Sicilian
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