Sausage and fennel pasta bake

Sausage and fennel pasta bake
  • Serves icon Serves 6
  • Time icon Hands-on time 40 min, oven time 20 min

Sausage meatballs and chunky rigatoni are stirred through a rich tomato and fennel sauce, topped with cheesy breadcrumbs and baked until crunchy. It’s a great family meal that everyone will love.

And if you love the sausage and fennel flavour combination, then take a look at this alternative recipe, rigatoni with fennel and sausage ragu.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
731kcals
Fat
29.4g (12.1g saturated)
Protein
37.2g
Carbohydrates
75.2g (11g sugars)
Fibre
8g
Salt
,2.4g
Calories
731kcals
Fat
29.4g (12.1g saturated)
Protein
37.2g
Carbohydrates
75.2g (11g sugars)
Fibre
8g
Salt
,2.4g

Ingredients

  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 large fennel bulb, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, bruised
  • Pinch chilli flakes
  • Small handful fresh flatleaf parsley, stalks and leaves chopped separately
  • 400g free-range sausages
  • 75g sun blush tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 680g jar passata with basil
  • 300ml hot chicken stock
  • 500g rigatoni pasta
  • 125g mozzarella ball, torn
  • 35g breadcrumbs
  • 75g gruyère, grated

Method

  1. Heat 3 tsp of the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onion and fennel for 8 minutes until softening and turning golden. Add the garlic, fennel seeds, chilli flakes and parsley stalks, stirring until fragrant.
  2. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Squeeze the sausagemeat out of the skins into walnut-size balls directly into the frying pan, then cook, stirring well, until beginning to brown on each side.
  3. Add the sun blush tomatoes, chopped tomatoes and passata. Rinse out the can and jar with the hot stock and add to the pan. Bring up to a simmer, then season well with salt and pepper and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water for 10 minutes, then drain briskly – you don’t want the pasta completely dry.
  5. Tip the pasta, chopped parsley leaves and mozzarella into the tomato sauce, stir well and transfer to a large baking dish. Toss the breadcrumbs and cheese with the  remaining 1 tsp oil and scatter over the pasta. Bake for 15–20 minutes until the sausage balls are cooked through and the bake is piping hot. Serve with a green salad, if you like.

delicious. tips

  1. Make the sauce up to 2 days ahead, then cool, cover and chill. Bring to a simmer, then complete the recipe. Or cook the bake, cool, then cover tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat in a medium oven until piping hot.

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