This is such a tasty and layered dish. We found this in All Recipes and it has originally come from Ina Garten. It’s mostly done in one skillet (except for the pasta boiling) and the sequencing of the flavoring is key. The fennel works well with the sausage and the red pepper flakes.
For this you’ll need: 1/2 lb rigatoni pasta, 1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage (cut into 1/2″ pieces), 1/2 onion (chopped), 1 small fennel bulb (chopped), x2 garlic cloves (chopped), 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup white wine, 1/2 cup vegetable stock, 2 Tbsp tomato paste, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 cup parmesan (grated), 1/4 cup fresh basil (chopped), olive oil, salt and pepper.
Start a large pot of salted water on to the boil. Add the pasta when boiling and cook to the package instructions. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
Meanwhile heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and fennel and stir well to coat everything. Allow to cook until just soft, about 5 mins. Add the sausage and stir together with the onion and fennel. Cook until the sausage starts to brown – about 5 mins.
Add the chopped garlic and red pepper flakes and stir well until fragrant, about 1 min then add the tomato paste and stir well so that everything is coated and the tomato paste starts to darken – about 5 mins.
Add the wine and turn up the heat slightly. Scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet and cook until the wine has reduced by about half – about 3-5 mins. Stir in the heavy cream and veggie stock, reduce the heat and allow the sauce to simmer, uncovered, until thickened – about 20 mins.
Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and 1/2 cup of the grated parmesan to the sauce after it has thickened up and add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Adjust the thickness of the sauce to your liking by either adding more reserved pasta water (thinning it) or adding more grated parmasen (thickening it).
Serve in a large serving bowl with some additional grated parmesan and some chopped fresh basil on the top.