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Pasta with Sausage, Carrot, and Fennel Ragu

Pasta with Sausage, Carrot, and Fennel Ragu

I came up with this recipe a few years back when I first started making my own sausage and it quickly became a winter pasta family favorite. The sausage makes it really flavorful, and the chunks of vegetables make it a great one pot meal!

makes six cups of sauce (enough for 1 1/2 pounds of pasta )

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups of diced carrots ( 1/4-inch pieces are good )
2 cups coarsely chopped fennel
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmagiano Reggiano, plus more for serving

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil with the butter in a shallow Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add the carrots, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add the fennel, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 15 minutes. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, the onions and garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat to medium- low, and cook for ten minutes more. Remove the vegetables from the Dutch oven and set aside.

Raise the heat to medium-high, and add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and stirring often, until the sausage is in small pieces and is thoroughly cooked, 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, reserved vegetables, parsley, and Parmagiano, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes over medium- low heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on to boil over high heat. Add the pasta to the boiling water, and cook to al dente, 8-10 minutes, depending on your pasta shape. Drain the pasta and add to the Dutch oven with the sauce, tossing gently to evenly coat. Cook for a few minutes more and serve immediately with additional Parmagiano.