Pasta with Sausage and Fennel

55 Comments

I’ve never been a huge fennel fan, and for just that reason, I planted two fennel plants in my garden. I figured that if I could harvest it personally, I could figure out how to showcase its unique flavor.

Ideally, if one loves the anise/licorice flavor, fennel is eaten raw, shaved in a salad, for example. But I thought that gently sautéed and caramelized in olive oil, with pasta and sausage, would still highlight this unique plant properly.

Harvesting the fennel is just a matter of pulling it out of the ground. I read that the fennel bulb should be the size of a tennis ball.


The recipe is not mine – I found it on Epicurious.com, and adapted it slightly.

Orecchiette with Sweet Italian Sausage and Fennel

1 fennel bulb, about 7 ounces, plus some fronds
12 ounces orecchiette
Salt
Olive oil
16 ounces sweet Italian sausage
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
White wine
Freshly grated Parmesan


Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside, along with 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage until lightly browned and cooked just through.


Remove the sausage to a bowl and set aside.

Add the fennel slices and saute them in the remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fennel softens, about 5 minutes.

Continue to cook, adding a little wine as necessary to prevent the fennel from sticking to the skillet. You might have to do this a few times. The resulting fennel should be soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes more.

Add the cooked pasta and reserved liquid to the skillet, along with the sausage. Stir well and let cook, until the liquid has reduced to a creamy sauce, about 4 minutes.


Add Parmesan and season again if necessary.


Also sprinkle some of the fronds over the pasta.

The fennel still reminded me of Pernod, which I dislike, but it was better slightly caramelized and cooked in the wine.

The Parmesan wasn’t in the original recipe, but I felt like it needed cheese.

Heavy cream would also be a fabulous addition!

King of Denmark

22 Comments

I’ve been saving this cocktail recipe for a while, even though it contains Pernod.
forsythia
I don’t remember why I even have Pernod in my liquor cabinet, because I don’t like it. I drank it once in a village in Provence, while sitting on a rooftop watching the sun set. I managed to choke the stuff down because I felt I had to. I wanted that experience, like the times I choked down whiskey in Ireland and Scotland, and Grappa in Italy. But it was awful.

My mother was never much of a drinker for being French, but occasionally she would get out her Pernod, mix it with water, and enjoy it during the summer months. I could hardly get past the smell of the stuff – the pungent anise flavor.

Pernod Absinthe

Pernod Absinthe


So the recipe I’d saved, called the King of Denmark I discovered at BarNoneDrinks.com. There is no explanation for the name of the drink. I also have no explanation for why in the world I saved a drink recipe that contains Pernod.

In any case, the cocktail recipe lists Pernod, and also black currant cordial, which I know of as Creme de Cassis. I substituted Chambord, which I figured was just as berry-like, and which I had on hand.

Chambord

Chambord


So here’s the original recipe:

King of Denmark

8 ounces Pernod Absinthe
6 ounces black currant cordial
20 ounces water

Mix together in a pitcher, and add ice. Sounds refreshing, right?

Before I tell you about this cocktail, I wanted to show you what Pernod looks like, in case you’ve never seen it, so I poured it into a measuring cup. Notice it’s green. So, I was a bit confused, because I remember Pernod as being neon yellow.

I poured it into a glass and added about 5 parts water, which is the classic way to make the drink, and it still looked different. The drink I remember was a cloudy yellow, and looked like it might contain radiation. This stuff was still on the greenish side.


So I did a little research online, and realized that I hadn’t purchased the original Pernod, sometimes called Pernod Classic, or Pernod Paris, or Pernod Ricard. It’s confusing.

Instead, I had purchased Pernod Absinthe, which has a touch of the herb in it that used to be in real Absinthe, which was banned in France in 1915. Everyone thought that the herb caused hallucinations, but it turns out that Absinthe was extremely alcoholic.

I also read that the luminous yellow color was from food coloring, which has since been removed. Here is a photo of Pernod “Classic.”

54dae2173a8d8_-_absinthe-0808-lg
Here’s something else I discovered. Pernod Classic is 40% alcohol. Pernod Absinthe is 68% alcohol!

Ironically, this King of Denmark drink actually uses the Absinthe version of Pernod, which I had accidentally purchased and have had for god knows how many years gathering dust.

The drink really doesn’t have a pretty color, does it? Probably because it’s a mix of green and pink liqueurs.

Then I made the cocktail with the ratio switched. It was definitely much prettier. but still terrible.
per99
I also added a few raspberries to enhance the raspberriness.
per

Unfortunately for me, the Pernod flavor was still too strong and pungent for me. And then finding out after the fact that the Pernod I had used was that alcoholic, it’s no wonder I really disliked this cocktail!

I think I’ll quit experimenting with Pernod of any kind.