Serves a Crowd

Penne Gratin with Sausage, Fennel, and Mushrooms

January 20, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Fennel and sausage is one of my favorite combinations. Add some pasta, cream, and cheese to the mix, and there is really nothing better. Be prepared to inhale the entire baking dish. —PhoebeLapine

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • 1/2 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 pound fennel (bulb only), trimmed and sliced
  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 12 ounces shredded mozzarella
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Bring a pot of heavily salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until very al dente (about 4 minutes shy of package directions) –it should have a definite bite to it. Drain and set aside.
  3. In the meantime, cook the sausage in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Using your spatula, break up the pieces of meat as much as you can until fully browned. Set aside.
  4. Using the fat left in the pan, sauté the fennel until translucent. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until golden brown. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional two minutes. Cover the mixture with the heavy cream and simmer over high heat until reduced by half, about four minutes. Season to taste.
  5. Toss the pasta and sausage together with the cream mixture, pecorino, and 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Distribute evenly in a casserole, gratin, or baking dish and cover with the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake uncovered until golden brown on the top, about 5 to 7 minutes.
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Phoebe is a writer, gluten-free chef, culinary instructor, award-winning blogger, and author of The Wellness Project. You can find her healthy comfort food and gluten-free finds on

2 Reviews

Starmade June 29, 2022
I made this with whole wheat penne and flavor was very complimentary, delicious even tho I had no mozzarella and not much cream -- used some pasta water and extra parmesan instead. Deliciously mushroomy
Oui, C. January 21, 2010
This sounds so delicious, perfect for a cold winter evening. Thanks for sharing it with us!