A blend of hot italian sausage, fennel, roasted tomatoes and asparagus, this ragù delivers deep flavor with just the right amount of zing. Using fresh tomatoes in place of the canned variety not only makes it healthier, it adds a distinctive freshness to the dish.
A great whole grain pasta for this dish is Eden Organic Kamut® Spirals, 100% Whole Grain. This light, tender pasta is a good starter whole wheat pasta for those used to the everyday enriched durum varieties.
- 1/2 bunch asparagus
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs tomatoes, chopped (about 5 small)
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1 lb ground hot italian sausage
- 2 small fennel bulbs, cored, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
- 1/4 c dry red wine
- 1/2 c basil, chopped (reserving 1Tbs)
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper to taste
- 1 pint roasted cherry tomatoes (recipe follows)
- 12 oz whole grain fusilli pasta, or other spiral pasta
- Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
1. Cut asparagus into 2" pieces (enough for about 2 cups). Blanch asparagus for 2 minutes in salted, boiling water. Drain and immediately place in ice bath. Set aside.
2. Add 2 Tbs of the oil to 12" skillet and heat over moderate heat. Add sausage and saute until brown. Meanwhile, place half of the tomatoes and all of the celery into a food processor and puree; pour into bowl and set aside. Place remaining 3/4 lbs of tomatoes into food processor, pulse until moderately chunky (about 5 times). Once brown, remove sausage and drain all but 1Tbs of fat.
3. Add the remaining 1 Tbs of oil to the pan and add onion and fennel. Saute until soft and lightly golden; about 15 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, wine, fennel seeds, salt, pepper, and sausage to the pan. Bring to a low simmer and simmer for 20 minutes. Add asparagus and roasted cherry tomatoes and simmer 2 minutes longer to heat through.
4. In large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta to package directions. Drain and toss with sauce. Sprinkle with reserved 1Tbs basil.
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cherry tomatoes in medium bowl. Add oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and toss to combine. Place on roasting pan and roast until soft and wilted; about 15-20 minutes.