This simple dish is at its most flavorful in summer when in-season tomatoes lend a lot of natural sweetness. Off season, you can amp up the flavor by adding more basil or parmigiano reggiano (or you can lightly oven-roast the cherry tomatoes first in order to bring out their sweetness).
AuthorLemons & Anchovies
2/3 - 3/4lbtube pasta
1lbsweet chicken sausageremoved from casing
1fennel bulbtrimmed and sliced thinly
1/4 - 1/3cuprosé wine
1 1/2 - 2cupscherry tomatoessliced in half (most flavorful when in-season)
12-14fresh basil leaveschiffonade
1/4 - 1/2cupolive oil
salt and pepperto taste
1tablespoonchili sauceor few pinches chili flakes
Parmigiano Reggiano for serving
Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving some of the pasta water and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons of the olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to hold the pasta over medium to medium-high heat. Add the small pieces of sausage and cook for 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl including any browned bits in the pan and set aside. You can drain some of the rendered fat from the sausage but I didn't do that. Reduce the heat in the pan to medium and add the sliced fennel and chili sauce (or chili flakes). Cook for 3-4 minutes until they're crisp-tender and their flavor has mellowed (season to taste). You can add more of the olive oil if you like. Pour in the rosé, turn up the heat to medium-high and deglaze the pan. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes then add back the cooked sausage, including all the brown bits. If the mixture looks dry--remember you'll also be adding the pasta--add the rest of the olive oil. Throw in the cooked pasta (I ended up using a little over 2/3 lb) and basil chiffonade and stir everything together. Season again with salt and pepper if you like. You can add more olive oil and/or some of the pasta water (a tablespoon or two at a time) for more moisture.
Plate and generously sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.