I think orecchiette wins the award for cutest pasta in my book. They look like little ears and that’s exactly what orecchiette means…little ears! It’s very traditional to pair it with sausage in Italian cuisine and in my family. So I paired mine with Italian style Turkey sausage to make it a little leaner. I added fennel to pick up on the fennel seeds that were in the turkey sausage too. Roasted red peppers and marinated artichoke hearts rounded out the sauce perfectly. This turkey sausage and fennel orecchiette was a simple, light and amazing pasta dinner!
To bring the dish together I poured the reserved pasta water over everything. It added an awesome extra dimension of flavor. Pouring a bit of the pasta cooking water into whatever sauce I’m making has become one of my favorite pasta making tricks! Then I gave it a generous finishing of olive oil and parmesan cheese. That was all there was to making the turkey sausage and fennel orecchiette! I loved that it was on the table in 30 minutes flat. Those cute little ears were like pockets for the sausage and veggies. There was flavor in every bite! This was a light dish but was still so satisfying. It had my Nana Lulu’s inspiration all over it, she would have loved seeing me make it. Enjoy and buon appetito friends! xoxo
This turkey sausage and fennel orecchiette is such an incredible and simple pasta dinner! Roasted peppers and artichoke hearts round out the dish.
- 1 pound orecchiette pasta
- 1 dash olive oil plus additional for drizzling at the end
- 1 pound Italian style turkey sausage casings removed
- 1 bulb fennel fronds removed and diced
- 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts 12 ounce size, drained
- 1 jar roasted red peppers 12 ounce size, drained
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1 dash worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus additional for topping
- fresh basil cut into chiffonade, as needed for garnish
- First, get the pasta going. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously. Pour in the orecchiette and let it cook for 8-10 minutes, until tender. Stir it occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick together. While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce.
- Heat the olive oil in a large, shallow pot over medium high heat. Brown the turkey sausage in it while you break it up thoroughly. Remove the sausage to a plate and drain any excess grease out of the pot. Get the pot back on the heat and add the fennel. Let it soften for a couple of minutes, then add the artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers. Return the sausage to the pan and season the mixture with the salt and pepper as you stir it together. Add the Worcestershire sauce, then deglaze the pot with the red wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. Turn the heat down to medium low and let the mixture meld together for 6-8 minutes.
- The pasta should be done by this point. Reserve 1/4 cup of the water it cooked in, then drain the pasta and transfer it to the pot of sauce. Pour in the reserved water, a generous drizzle of olive oil and the parmesan cheese and toss it all together thoroughly. Then scoop into pretty bowls and top with additional parmesan cheese and fresh basil ribbons. Serve immediately and enjoy!