Why it’s so good

While quick and easy to make, this fennel sausage pasta boasts so much rich flavour. Ingredients like Italian sausage, sun dried tomatoes and tomato paste add loads of umami, while softened onion and fennel give a subtle sweetness. Cream gives the sauce a silky texture and adds richness while nutritious kale and parsley give freshness. It’s the perfect balancing act and the most wonderful comfort food.

If you haven’t cooked with fennel before, or maybe you stay away because of it’s intense anise / liquorice flavour, then you need to try cooking with it. I didn’t consider myself a fan until I did and now I love it. When cooked into a sauce like this or slow roasted in the oven, it becomes tender and subtly sweet, while that anise flavour almost completely disappears. It just mellows it and brings out it’s natural sweetness.

If you love a rich pasta dish, try this one pan prawn and chorizo pasta or this taco pasta.

Top down view of a pan full of fennel sausage pasta.


Ingredients for sausage fennel pasta.

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

  • Dried pasta: I use short mafaldine. My new favourite, it’s like short pieces of tagliatelle with ruffled edges. However many varieties of dried pasta will work like pasta shells, penne, rigatoni, casarecce, and orecchiette. If you can, use a bronze-cut pasta for the very best result. It’s extruded through a bronze die which gives it a rough surface that catches the sauce better.
  • Onion and Fennel: Onion and fennel are the veggie base for this pasta. Use a brown onion or red onion will work. Just one medium fennel bulb is enough here. You could swap the fennel for zucchini/courgette too.
  • Fennel seeds: For their aroma, flavour and texture, whole fennel seeds are wonderful in this dish. They have a natural sweetness and are used a lot in Italian cooking. I don’t bother to crush them at all but if you don’t want whole large seeds, just crush them a little in a mortar and pestle.
  • Sun dried tomatoes: Sun dried tomatoes add so much flavour. They’re sweet yet savoury and give a lovely chewy texture.
  • Italian sausage: Use your preference of mild Italian sausage, sweet Italian sausage or hot Italian sausages here in your fennel sausage pasta. I use a combination of mild and hot.
  • Flour: Just a little plain flour (aka all-purpose flour) is used to thicken the sauce.
  • Tomato paste: Much like the sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste adds a natural tomato sweetness and umami and richness too.
  • Chicken stock: Chicken stock / chicken broth is the base of the sauce here.
  • Cream: You’ll need a little cream to add richness and turn it into a creamy sauce. I use thickened cream (aka heavy cream) but you can use cooking cream too.
  • Tuscan kale: Tuscan kale, also known as lacinato kale or cavolo nero. It has a deep earthy green flavour and is milder, less bitter and has a nicer texture than regular curly kale. You can use baby spinach or even silverbeet in it’s place.
  • Parmesan: You’ll want some parmesan to serve. Grate it yourself from a block for the best flavour.

How to make it

This sausage fennel pasta is very easy to make. Cook some pasta in a saucepan of salted water and in a separate pan, you’ll pull together this fennel and sausage sauce.

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

1. Cook the veggies

Start by softening the onion and fennel in a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. A dutch oven will work well too giving you lots of room to stir in the pasta. Next, add the sundried tomatoes and fennel seeds and cook for another couple of minutes.

The onion, fennel and sundried tomatoes softening in a pan.

2. Cook the sausage

Remove the skins from the Italian sausages, then break them up into the pan. Cook them over medium-high heat now until browned all over.

The sausage cooking in a pan.

3. Make the sauce

You start the sauce by first sprinkling flour over the dish and give it a good stir, cooking for a minute or two. Now, pour in the chicken stock and add the tomato paste. Mix it all well and let it come to a simmer for a couple of minutes until it thickens.

The pan with the stock added.

Next, add the cream and some salt. Stir it in well, then give it a taste. Adjust the seasoning at this point.

The pan once the cream has been added.

4. Add the rest

Add the kale and stir it in, letting it wilt a little, then add the cooked pasta and give it a good stir to combine everything.

The pan with the kale added.
The final dish with the pasta added to the pan.

Tips and tricks

  • Al dente pasta: Make sure not to overcook your pasta. I find some brands overstate how long pasta takes to cook so check it a minute or two before the packaging suggests. It should still have a little bite to it, not be falling apart or mushy.
  • Alway salt the pasta water well: The pasta doesn’t suck up all the salt you add to the water. The water should taste salty (like the sea) and then your pasta will turn out perfectly seasoned.
  • Reserve some pasta water: Always reserve some pasta water – every time you cook pasta – in case your sauce needs it. Pasta water is not only seasoned, but it’s also filled with starches from the pasta, and that starch can actually make your pasta sauce silkier and thicker.

⏰Time-saving tips

This sausage and fennel pasta is really quick to bring together but there are a couple of little hacks you can use to make your cooking time even shorter.

  • Slice vegetables in advance: The onion, fennel and kale can all be prepared in advance, even up to 24 hours. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge so those onion aromas don’t get around the fridge though.
  • Skin the sausages in advance: OK, this will only save you 1 minute, but maybe you need that extra minute at the end of the day, or maybe that extra minute will help you in the kitchen at dinner time.
  • The sauce can be made in advance: The whole sauce, veggies and sausages can all be made a day or two in advance, leaving you just to cook the pasta, then reheat the sauce when ready.
A pasta bowl filled with fennel sausage pasta topped with parmesan.


If you can’t get or don’t want to buy Italian sausages, you can use pork mince or a combination of pork and beef mince (ground pork / ground beef) in this recipe. Make sure to add 1-2 cloves of minced garlic when you add the sun dried tomatoes, and a good pinch of dried chilli flakes (red pepper flakes) for a bit of spice. You’ll also likely need a little more salt.


Any leftover fennel and sausage pasta should be stored in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 4 days. As long as your pasta was cooked just to al dente, it will reheat nicely either in a pan or in the microwave but I find a little sprinkle of water will help as a lot of the sauce gets absorbed by the pasta after it sits.

Top down view of the sausage pasta in a bowl.

Hungry for more? Subscribe to the newsletter for free recipes straight to your inbox. Also, follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

A serving spoon adding some of the pasta dish to a bowl.
5 from 2 ratings
This fennel sausage pasta recipe is rich, delicious and so comforting. Italian sausage and al-dente pasta bathed in a flavourful creamy tomato sauce.


  • 250 g dried pasta (I use short mafaldine)
  • 1 tablespoon sundried tomato oil (or olive oil) (notes 1)
  • 1 medium brown onion diced (1 cup)
  • 1 medium fennel bulb finely diced (¾ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ cup sliced sundried tomatoes not packed
  • 450 g Italian sausage (mild or hot) casings removed (1lb)
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour (all purp flour) (notes 1)
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock (chicken broth)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (notes 1)
  • ½ cup thickened cream (heavy cream)
  • ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • 3 cups Tuscan kale ribbons (or baby spinach leaves) lightly packed
  • parmesan cheese finely grated to serve

For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided


  • Large pot for cooking the pasta
  • Deep, large frying pan or skillet, or dutch oven I prefer non stick, you may just need a little more oil if it's not


  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil (in readiness for the pasta). If it boils before the end of step 2, turn it off until needed.
  • Heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and diced fennel. Cook 4-5 mins until translucent.
  • At this point bring the pasta water back to a boil and add the pasta. Cook for around 10 minutes until al dente or according to packet instructions.
  • Meanwhile, add the fennel seeds and sun dried tomatoes to the onion pan. Cook 1-2 minutes.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high. Break up the sausages as you add them to the pan. Cook, turning regularly, until the sausage is just cooked through.
  • Sprinkle over the flour and mix well. Cook, stirring regularly for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and chicken stock and bring to a simmer, stirring regularly, for 2-3 minutes until it thickens slightly.
  • When the pasta is done, reserve ½ cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta until required.
  • Add the cream, salt and kale to the sausage mixture. Stir well and cook another minute or two until the kale wilts a little.
  • Mix in the drained pasta and spoon onto plates. Add parmesan to the top and serve.
  • Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.


  1. Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
  2. Sausage casings are easy to remove. Just run a sharp knife down the length of the sausage, then peel away the casing and discard.
  3. Nutrition details are approximate only – scroll below the recipe to find the full nutritional information.
Have you tried this recipe?Don’t forget to leave a rating and comment below and let me know how it was! I love hearing from you. Nutrition information is approximate and derived from an online calculator. The brands you use may cause variations.
Nutrition Facts
Fennel Sausage Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 694 Calories from Fat 378
% Daily Value*
Fat 42g65%
Saturated Fat 16g100%
Trans Fat 0.01g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 17g
Cholesterol 97mg32%
Sodium 1072mg47%
Potassium 1125mg32%
Carbohydrates 55g18%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 1819IU36%
Vitamin C 26mg32%
Calcium 123mg12%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.