Penne with Italian Chicken Sausage and Fennel [RECIPE]


Penne with Italian Chicken Sausage and Fennel

Your guests will want to lick their plates clean when you serve up Penne with Italian Chicken Sausage and Fennel. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

Serve this recipe if you want to impress your guests. It is fairly simple to make, stretches to feed a crowd, and will have your friends and family raving for days. From the moment I put this recipe together for the first time, I knew it was going to be a keeper. The fragrant aroma alone is enough to make mouths water. And that first bite… heaven! Serve it up with crusty Italian bread, seasoned olive oil (I like to blend Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to make a simple dipping sauce), a large tossed salad and your favorite bottle of wine and you have a meal fit for a fine Italian restaurant or a house full of really hungry friends. My guests love this one so much I’ve had to add it to my repertoire, and my guess is you will too. Enjoy!


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bulb fennel, chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, divided


  1. Heat olive oil in a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the fennel and onion and cook until translucent, about 7 minutes, stirring frequently so vegetables don’t burn. Add sausage and cook for another 7 minutes, or until sausages are cooked through and crumbled. Add garlic, crushed fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and stir to combine, cook about 1 minute. Pour in wine and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally and scraping any brown bits off the bottom. Pour in heavy cream, half-and-half, tomato paste, and stir to combine. Return to a boil, then lower heat and simmer sauce until thickened, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of Kosher salt and cook penne according to package directions, minus 1 minute so pasta is al dente. Drain pasta and add to sauce, stirring to coat. Spoon pasta on plates and top with chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.

TIP: You can make this dish ahead. Put it in a large casserole dish and let cool. Sprinkle with Parmesan, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. To prepare the next day, preheat oven to 375°F and bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Serve with extra Parmesan and freshly chopped parsley.

YIELDS: 8 to 10 servings


Clarkson Potter

NOTE: This recipe is my adaptation of one of my favorites from Ina Garten’s new book Cooking for Jeffrey from Clarkson Potter, ©2016.

Watch for my review of Cooking for Jeffrey coming soon.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

3 Responses to Penne with Italian Chicken Sausage and Fennel [RECIPE]

  1. Pingback: Look Back at the Top 10 Jathan & Heather Recipes of 2022 | Jathan & Heather

  2. Pingback: Chardonnay and Herb Dressing [RECIPE] | Jathan & Heather

  3. Jathan Fink says:

    Reblogged this on Jadeworks Entertainment and commented:

    Do you plan to entertain guests sometime soon? Want a recipe that will knock their socks off? Then try our test kitchen’s mouth-watering, company-pleasing new pasta dish, Penne with Italian Chicken Sausage and Fennel. It is so good, your guests may ask for doggie bags.

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