Ziti with Sausage and Fennel (Ziti chi Sosizza e Finucchieddi)
This is our version of a pasta we enjoyed at Orto dei Cappuccini in Polizzi, Sicily, which was created by owner Santo Lipani. Though not typically Sicilian, the dish combines many ingredients easily found on the island (and in America) into a simple and refined whole.
INGREDIENTS¾ lb. mild Italian sausage
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
¼ cup Pernod
¾ lb. wild fennel (or tender inner sections of cultivated fennel), coarsely chopped
½ cup strong beef stock
Crushed red pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
½ lb. ziti tagliate or other long, tubular pasta
¼ cup heavy cream
INSTRUCTIONS1. Remove casings from sausages and discard. Coarsely chop sausage meat, place in a large skillet over medium heat and brown, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in Pernod, fennel, and stock, and cook until fennel is tender, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt, red pepper, and black pepper.
2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, 8–10 minutes, then drain. Stir pasta and cream into sauce, adjust seasoning and serve.