Pasta with Squash, Fennel, Sausage and Ricotta

Pasta with Squash, Fennel, Sausage and Ricotta



  • 1 lb. pasta
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped for the breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ lb. of wild fennels or the feathery green leaves of bulb fennel 
  • 1 medium onion, diced for the sauce
  • 1 lb. of summer or winter squash, washed, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 sausage, without the casing
  • 1 lb. of ricotta
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • Dry hot red peppers flakes, served on the side
  • Salt and pepper to taste



The Breadcrumbs
Over a medium flame, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12 inch sauté pan.
Add diced onions and sauté until golden, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in the breadcrumbs and keep stirring until crumbs are light golden. Blend in 4 additional tablespoons of olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste.
Place in a container and set on the side.

The Fennels
Bring a large pot with 5 quarts of water to a boil; add fennels, 1 tablespoon of salt and cook, keeping pot at a medium heat for 15 minutes or until fennels are tender.
Scoop out the boiled fennels with a slatted spoon and when they are cooled, chop them very fine. Save the fennel water for cooking the pasta.

The Sauce
Over a medium flame, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan.
Add the diced onions and sauté for about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add the sausage and sauté for additional 5 minutes to brown the meat, turning occasionally. Add ½ of a cup of the reserved water and stir in the squash, the fennels and salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking for 10 minutes.

The Pasta
Bring the reserved fennel water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and cook the pasta following the manufactures directions. Reduce the recommended cooking time by 2 minutes.

The Ricotta
While the pasta is cooking, combine the ricotta with ½ cup of boiling water from the pasta pot, mix it until smooth.

The Assembly
Drain pasta, reserve a cup of water and toss the cooked pasta into the sauté pan with the sauce. Add the ricotta and toss until pasta and sauce are well combined, add ½ of the breadcrumbs and over a low heat gently turn for about 2 minutes. If it is too dry, add some of the reserved water. Serve immediately.
Garnish each dish with some breadcrumbs, drizzle with a few drops of olive oil and offer hot red pepper flakes and the remaining breadcrumbs on the side.