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For me, comfort food looks fresh tomato sauce, rustic bread with pecorino Reggiano, basil pesto, and eggplants. I was born and raised in a Sicilian (Southern Island of Italy) home and what can I say? I was spoiled with incredible food!
When I was a child on occasion my parents would ask me if wanted to go to McDonald’s or Burger King. I would kindly decline and think in the back of my head “YOU ARE CRAZY!! We have leftover lasagna at home!”
I love my heritage and in my opinion, Sicilian cuisine is one of the most enticing ways to cook. It embraces influences from Spain, Greece, Normandy and the Middle East; just to name a few. Being a large island in the Mediterranean, it naturally became a source of trade in ancient times. Spices and herbs from all around the world landed on Sicily’s shores and the rest is culinary history.
Here is my take on a classic Sicilian dish Italian Sausage and Fennel Pasta:
Italian Sausage And Fennel Pasta
- 3⁄4 lb. mild Italian sausage
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1⁄4 cup Anisette or Pernod
- ¼ cup water
- 3⁄4 lb. Fennel, coarsely chopped
- 1⁄2 cup strong beef stock
- 1 lb. Pasta (tube shaped and I used brown rice pasta)
- 1⁄4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon of corn starch
- Crushed red pepper
- Black pepper
- Remove casings from sausages and throw away. 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 Anisette, water, fennel, and stock, and cook until fennel is tender about 10 minutes. Add cornstarch to milk and make a slurry. Pour slurry into a pan, cook till sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt, red pepper, and black pepper.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until
aldente, 8–10 minutes, then drain. Stir pasta into sauce, adjust seasoning and serve.