You know you have landed in Sicily when you catch the anise-like fragrance of wild fennel drifting in the summer breeze. Indigenous to Sicily, the herb adorns the island. You will find its feathery green fronds snaking along roadsides dotted with almond trees, agaves and prickly cactus, or hiding in the bushes that cover the island’s Mediterranean shrubland.
Unmistakably fresh, wild fennel is the seasoning of choice for many a traditional dish on the island. But our chef Roberta’s favourite expression of the herb is “salsiccia e finocchietto” - Sicily’s famous sausage and fennel sauce, and the inspiration for this dish. Roberta, a Pugliese native, loves regaling us with tales of her childhood holidays to San Vito Lo Capo, a mountain comune in Northern Sicily, famous for its sausage-making tradition. Here, you will find her mamma’s favourite trattoria, where salsiccia e finocchietto bubbles away in big pots in the backyard, its intoxicating aroma offering a very particular kind of joy.
Inspired by Roberta’s memory, our sausage sauce this week is prepared in true Sicilian tradition. Stewed slowly, the savoury flavour of the sausage is enhanced by the addition of wild fennel and sea salt, creating a beautiful white sauce far greater than the sum of its parts. We serve our sauce with fresh tubes of rigatoni, a typical Sicilian pasta shape whose grooves are perfect for sopping up every last morsel.
Durum WHEAT Semola, WHEAT Flour, EGG, Rice Flour
Sausage and Fennel Sauce (160g):
Pork Sausage (Pork (Origin: UK), White Wine (SULPHITES), Garlic, Salt, Pepper), Cream (MILK), Onion, Fennel, Chicken Stock (contains CELERY seeds), White Wine (SULPHITES), Olive Oil, Garlic, Fennel Seeds, Fresh Chilli, Salt, Black Pepper
Italian Grated Cheese (8g):
MILK, Salt, Rennet (Microbial Coagulant), EGG Lysozyme