Braised Sausages with Macaroni, Cheese Sauce and Fennel
Braised sausages are accompanied by pasta tossed with a fennel-seasoned cheese sauce.
- 2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, in casings
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling, plus 1 tablespoon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 head fennel, trimmed, quartered and thinly sliced, and a handful of fronds, chopped
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 2 round tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus some for topping
- 1 pound Italian macaroni or ziti
Place the sausages in a skillet and add enough water to come halfway up the sides of the links. Drizzle the EVOO over them and them place on the stove over high heat; bring to boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook to evaporate the liquid and brown and crisp the casings.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
In a medium size pot or deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon EVOO, a turn of the pan, with the butter. When the butter melts into the EVOO, add the fennel, fennel fronds, onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir to soften, 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the fennel and stir for a minute, then add the wine and deglaze the pan. Stir in the stock and milk and cook to thicken, 5-7 minutes.
Cook the macaroni to al dente.
Stir the cheese into the fennel sauce, combine with the pasta and serve the macaroni with the sausages alongside.