Drunk Pasta with Italian Sausage



  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3 cups or 1 LARGE fennel bulb, chopped (sub 3 ribs celery if not in season)
  • 1½ cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1¼ pounds sweet Italian sausages, casings removed (pork or chicken)
  • 2 cloves (2 teaspoons) minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon whole fennel seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • ½-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2-2 cups dry white wine*
  • 1 pound your favorite pasta
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2-1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (optional)
  • *Sauvignon Blanc, Unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio


  1. In large dutch oven over medium heat, heat oil for 30-60 seconds until hot and then sauté onions and fennel for 5-7 minutes until soft.
  2. Add Italian sausages and cook for another 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned.
  3. Add spices and tomato paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Add wine and let simmer on low-medium heat for 20-30 minutes until alcohol has cooked off and sauce comes together.
  5. While you wait for sauce to reduce, make your pasta according the instructions. Cook until al dente.
  6. Use a slotted ladle to transfer pasta to the sauce, and gently stir to combine until pasta is thoroughly coated.
  7. Turn off heat and stir in fresh pepper, parsley, and parm.