Striving to help reduce the carbs my husband and I eat daily, I was looking for a meal that would be big on flavor, but no carbs. Again I turned to Lidia's Italy cookbook and found a recipe for Sausage with Fennel and Olives. Did you know that fennel is part of the carrot family and its taste is similar to licorice? During the holidays my mother would purchase fennel and would eat it as a digestive aid after a large holiday meal. These days, cooks are preparing it as a side dish.
This is a wonderful, one pan meal that can be prepared in under 45 minutes.
Instead of using the pork sausage that the recipe calls for, I used Giannelli turkey sausage ($4.99/lb.) that I found at Wegmans. Other ingredients include dry white wine, large green olives and the fennel. I found beautiful fennel bulbs at Delicious Orchards ($2.99 each). In my refrigerator I had some Nocellara olives that came from a gift basket. They are an Italian green olive packed in brine.
Before I started cooking the sausage, I prepared the fennel by cutting off the tough base and peeling off the thick outer layers. I also removed the inner stalks as they weren't needed for the recipe. I next cut the fennel in half, then into 1" thick wedges. With that done, I cut out the core so the layers can be separated and cut into 1" wide or larger chunks.
First in the pan was the sausage. After the sausage, the garlic and peperoncino; then the olives. After that cooked for the designated time, next in was the fennel for approximately 20 minutes. Once the fennel is nice and tender, the sausage is added back to the pan.
The piquant blend of flavors made this a delectable dish. The sausage had a mild spicy taste, a hint of heat from the peperoncino and the fennel took on a slightly sweet, licorice taste which was a nice contrast against the sausage. A hunk of nice Italian bread would have done nice to soak up the juices, but this was a meal with no carbs. It was a nice change having fennel as an accompaniment. This would make a great lunch or light weekend supper.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.