Pasta with Sausage and Fennel Fronds

Have you ever tried fennel fronds?

There are a zillion recipes out there using fennel bulbs, but very few that use the stalks and fennel fronds.

But they ARE edible. Even delicious!

They have that anise flavor, but are significantly less pungent than the bulb. And just like the bulb, that licorice-y taste diminishes as you cook it. Since the fronds especially are so thin and delicate, they are perfect after just a slight saute.

So here we go. A recipe using fennel fonds 🙂

You can just rip the fronds off the stalks of fennel from the store, OR if you are lucky enough to live in California and are feeling adventurous, there is plenty of wild fennel around, just ripe for the picking.

Case in point: Wild fennel seen during a hike in Livermore.

Wild Fennel in Livermore, CA

Please note: Wild fennel is different than the kind you get in the store. There is no bulb! So don’t try to dig it up (I learned this the hard way…). Just pluck off the fennel fronds and be on your merry way. Just be sure to wash them very very well before you use them!

This is a really simple recipe. Follow the picture steps and see the full recipe and health tip below!

First, pluck off all the fennel fronds from 2 large fennel stalks or gather a bunch from the wild:

Fennel Fronds and Bulbs

Then chop them all up.

Chopped and washed fennel fronds

Next, prep the sausage. Slit them down the center with a sharp knife to cut through the casing:

Slicing Hot Italian Sausage

Then remove the casing and crumble into your pan (the smaller the better so you don’t have to do as much breaking up with your spatula while cooking).

Removing Casing from Italian Sausage

After browning, add the garlic and fennel fronds.

Sausage with Garlic and Fennel Fronds

Then cook for a couple minutes.

Cooked Sausage with Garlic and Fennel Fronds

Then add the pasta, some pasta water to create a sauce, and some yummy cheese. Season with pepper and enjoy!

pasta with sausage and fennel fronds

Health Tip: The compound in fennel responsible for that classic licorice flavor is called anethole. A study conducted out of the University of Texas in the year 2000 showed that anethole is able to block many TNF (tumor necrosis factor) cellular pathways that can increase inflammation. Anethole has been suggested to work as an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compound. (source here)

Pasta with Sausage and Fennel Fronds
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Author: Erica Julson
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or safflower oil for low salicylates)
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage, crumbled
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup finely chopped fennel fronds
  • 1 lb bowtie pasta
  • 1/4 cup pasta cooking water
  • 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan-romano cheese blend
  • ground pepper to taste (omit if salicylate sensitive)
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the olive oil and sausage to a large nonstick skillet. Heat over medium-high heat and cook for 8-10 minutes until browned. Take care to break up the sausage into small pieces with your spatula.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water according to package directions, usually about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and fennel fronds to the sausage and cook for 3-5 minutes more until garlic is fragrant. Then reduce the heat to low.  

  5. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water and drain the rest of the pasta.

  6. Add the cooking water and pasta to the skillet and stir to combine. Sprinkle on the cheese and toss again to combine. 

  7. Season with pepper and serve (with additional cheese if desired).

 

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Pasta with Sausage and Fennel Fronds

Pasta with No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Pasta with No-Cook Tomato Sauce

pasta with raw tomato sauce | ericajulson.com

When was the last time you enjoyed a garden fresh summer tomato?

Not the mealy, pale, flavorless grocery store tomatoes, but a juicy, vibrant, dribble down your chin, REAL tomato?

Cause that’s what this recipe is all about. TOMATO TOMATO TOMATO!

It uses 3 delectable types:

  • fresh tomatoes
  • sundried tomatoes
  • tomato paste

These 3 ingredients marry into a rich, tangy sauce that you’ll go gaga over.

And even better? There’s no cooking required! Yep, this entire pasta sauce is made in a blender. Perfect for hot summer nights.

Serve it with a simple side salad & maybe some herbed garlic bread, and you’ve got Italy right in your living room 😉 So get your butt to the farmers market for some fresh tomatoes & try this recipe!

pasta with no-cook tomato sauce | ericajulson.com

Pasta with No-Cook Tomato Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb torchiette or other tubular or spiral pasta
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, drained
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese or fresh ricotta, for serving
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, add the fresh tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, garlic, olive oil, and a liberal sprinkle of salt and pepper to a blender. Cover & blend for 1 minute, or until smooth. If sauce is too thick, add more olive oil to thin. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

  3. When pasta is done cooking, drain, return to pot, and toss with pasta sauce. Serve immediately, with your choice of cheese on top.
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Oh, Shit… I Ate the Whole Bag

cookies

You’ve had a long day.

You were slammed at work, but you stuck to your clean eating diet despite it all. You feel like you need a break, so you reach for a snack to relax. After all, you deserve it!

Hmmm… what shall it be? Salty chips? Chewy cookies? Savory cheese and crackers?

You decide on the chips and settle down on the couch. You turn on your favorite TV show and zone out. You’re completely enjoying yourself, until… wait… is that the bottom of the bag? Did I really just eat an entire bag of chips in one sitting?

Enter the negative self-talk.

The body bashing, the shaming, the “God, I’m such a fat pig,” why can’t I have more self-control? You stuff the empty bag in the bottom of the trashcan so no one will see the evidence, and head to your room to ruminate.

Now you feel so guilty and tell yourself you don’t deserve to eat dinner. The chips will have to do. You already ate way too many calories already, right? Your stomach feels uncomfortable, and you don’t even feel satisfied! UGH!

Does this sound familiar?

It sure does to me. I repeated this pattern of deprivation and binge snacking for YEARS during my late teens and early twenties.

I was so concerned about looking good on the outside, that I didn’t even notice I was completely brainwashed by the dieting industry. I was convinced that restriction was necessary to stay thin. Sugar-free beverages, diet sodas, low-fat crackers, baked chips, and no-sugar added ice creams were staples in my apartment.

It never dawned on me that these episodes (like eating an entire box of cheez-its in one sitting, or going HAM on some French fries after a night out at the bars) were indicative of a problem. I had been so entrenched in thinking of my body as something that needed to be controlled and tamed, that I never even contemplated another way. And why would I, when over HALF of all American adults are currently dieting or trying to lose weight?

I was, after all, in the majority.

It wasn’t until after college, when I moved in with my boyfriend, that I started to realize something was amiss. Aaron didn’t live like this. While I was meticulously tracking my calories each day and weighing myself on the scale, he was just living life, without a second thought to what he was or was not eating.

And there was more.

When we went out to eat something I had deemed “bad,” like burgers or pizza, I couldn’t stop. No matter how full I was, I had to eat the whole thing. After all, when was the next time I would eat a meal like this? Aaron, on the other hand, could leave a quarter of his burger and half the fries on his plate if he wanted. He just listened to his body. He stopped eating when he was full, with no feelings of scarcity or deprivation.

What. An. Eye. Opener.

Aaron was a naturally mindful eater. Mindful eaters are tuned into their bodies. They just listen. They eat when they are hungry, and they stop when they are full. They don’t put judgments on food, labeling it “good” or “bad.” They eat what they want & feel happy and satisfied!

That was the year I began to change.

I started cooking every night, eating real whole foods that nourished me, and began the practice of tuning in. I continued to improve my relationship with food while studying to become a dietitian, and I can truly say, that those days of restricting and binging are long gone. I can enjoy a meal out without overdoing it, and I can keep a bag of chips in the house until they go stale. It’s been an amazing, breathtaking, life-changing journey to self-acceptance and love.

If you’re currently stuck on the yo-yo diet bandwagon, know that I’ve been there.

And I’ve also chartered a course OUT. No one deserves to be in a space of body-loathing, deprivation, and guilt. You deserve to be in place of body-love, peace, and satisfaction.

I understand all the struggles, emotions, and judgments that surface along this journey.

And I’d never let you go it alone.

That’s why I’ve teamed up with Jennifer Dene, Certified Trainer & Pilates Instructor, to create a program that’s all about LOVING your body.

There are no diets, no deprivation, no calorie counting, and NO pre-determined portion controls. Believe it or not, YOU have all the tools inside of you to repair your relationship with food.

Throughout the 10 weeks of this program, I will guide you through the exact steps I took to overcome the dieting mind state and finally become at peace with food and my body.

If you have even a smidgen of self-recognition in this story, then this program is for you. This is your time to shine, girl.

Join The Body Bliss Program. You’ll never look back.

PS- As a special bonus, the first 10 women to sign up will receive two complimentary 30-minute strategy sessions with Jenn & I. If you’ve ever thought about working with me, but were worried about finances, this is your opportunity.

You get TEN WEEKS of access to me (a dietitian) AND Jenn (a personal trainer) for less than the price of 1 session with each of us. Ummmm. AMAZING!

You’ll also join a private Facebook community with the other Body Blissers for unparalled group support. Plus, all members receive access to the program for LIFE. That means next time we run this program again (which won’t be until 2016), you automatically receive a spot in the next go-around.

Click here to join me on the journey to body bliss.

I’m dying to share my secrets with you, and help you enjoy a life free of “food & body drama” <3

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