Friday, October 26, 2012

Date Night Pasta

Last Saturday was "Sweetest Day" but instead of going out for dinner, my husband and I decided to make a nice meal and eat in. 

The decision to do so was not a hard one after we watched my girl Giada make, 
what looked like to be, the most delicious pasta dish! 

We are now calling it "Date Night Pasta."
{it's really Orecchiette with Roasted Fennel and Sausage}

Sound good to you?  
Recipe is below!

This recipe requires a bunch of ingredients that you probably won't have on-hand....
making it a nice option for a special occasion dinner! (i.e. not your everyday pasta)

For the roasted fennel:
2 small bulbs fennel, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces (2 1/2 cups) orecchiette pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
One 4-ounce spicy (or hot) Italian sausage link, casing removed
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced or smashed
2 tablespoons white wine, such as pinot grigio
8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley (we omitted)
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Toss the cut fennel (just the bulb) in olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.   Roast until golden at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. Set aside to cool when done.
Chop and measure out the other ingredients - sun dried tomatoes, capers, garlic, onion.
{that's my roasted fennel at the top of the pic}
Measure out two and half cups of orecchiette ("little ears" in Italian)
Heat the 2T of oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the sausage and break into 1/2-inch pieces using a wooden spoon. 
Cook until golden and cooked through, about 6 minutes. 
Add the onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook until all of the wine has evaporated, about 1 minute. 
Add the tomatoes, parsley and capers. Cook for 30 seconds. 
Add the pasta, fennel and cheese. Toss until all ingredients are coated, adding the reserved pasta water as needed, to loosen the pasta.
This makes about 2-3 servings and takes just over an hour to make. 
It's so flavorful that a small serving satisfied me...However, my husband liked it so much he finished off the entire dish that night! 

Have a great weekend! 


  1. This is making me hungry!
    - andrea

  2. It looks so good. It looks pretty involved too. (Her recipes usually are to me.) It would be a good date night/special night dish. My husband and I usually go out to dinner but we are having a date night 'in' tomorrow. We are going to do fondue.


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