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creamy rigatoni with sausage and fennel in a serving bowl

Creamy Rigatoni with Sausage and Fennel

  • Author: Adapted from Food Network
  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: Italian


This creamy rigatoni with sausage and fennel is last-meal good. Made with al dente rigatoni noodles, crumbly Italian sausage and crunchy fennel or celery, it’s everything you want in a pasta dish and more.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped fresh fennel or celery
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 lb bulk mild Italian sausage
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds, crushed or chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 lb rigatoni pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1 cup fresh-grated Parmesan cheese, divided


  1. In large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add fennel and onion and cook, stirring often, 7 to 9 minutes until soft. Add sausage; cook 7 to 9 minutes, crumbling as you cook, until sausage is cooked through and browned. Add garlic, crushed fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Cook for 1 minute, then pour in white wine. Bring to boil. Add heavy cream, half-and-half and tomato paste. Return to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens.
  2. Meanwhile, bring large pot of water to boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt to boiling water, then add rigatoni pasta. Cook according to package directions. Drain and add to sauce; stir to coat pasta.
  3. Off heat, stir in 1/4 cup parsley and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Serve topped with remaining parsley and Parmesan cheese.


  • To make ahead: Put finished dish in an oven-safe dish, sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese, cover and refrigerate for up to a day/overnight. When you’re ready to serve, uncover pasta and heat in the oven at 375°F for 20 minutes.

Keywords: Ina Garten pasta, creamy pasta sauce, Italian sausage pasta, creamy tomato sauce