Sheet Pan

Winter Weeknight Pasta

February 25, 2019
9 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

There's nothing like fennel seed to make Italian sausages taste even more of themselves (probably because it's one of the main flavorings). If you've ever bitten into a fennel seed, then you know what I mean. It's fragrant and herbaceous, tasting lightly of licorice and, well, of sausage. Roasting the sausages like this, chopped up into small bite-size pieces, also means they crisp up and curl into themselves as they bake, essentially turning into little meatballs—zero rolling involved.

The sheet-pan method saves the day again because all of the ingredients will sweeten and caramelize in the oven (while you go about your night, e.g. feeding the dog, taking a bath, pouring yourself a glass of wine). More importantly, the fat from the sausages will flavor the entire contents of the pan. This fennel-scented fat will be especially useful when tossed into a pound of cooked fusilli, because it both seasons and enriches the pasta like nothing else. —Eric Kim

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: A Quick & Cozy Sheet-Pan Pasta for Lazy Winter Weeknights. —The Editors

  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
  • 1 pound sweet and/or spicy Italian sausages (casings still on), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 head cauliflower, separated into florets and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 red onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound fusilli (spiral-shaped pasta)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves (left whole), for garnish, but also as an ingredient in its own right
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place sausage, cauliflower, red onion, fennel seed, olive oil, salt, and pepper on a half-sheet pan (18x13 inches), toss to combine, and roast for 40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Cook fusilli to desired doneness, drain, and return to the pot.
  4. Add everything from the sheet pan to the pot with the cooked fusilli, along with the Parmesan and parsley, and toss together.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • ifjuly
  • Donald Partlan
    Donald Partlan
  • Rebecca Leon
    Rebecca Leon
  • karenheff
Eric Kim is the Table for One columnist at Food52. Formerly the managing editor at Food Network and a PhD candidate in literature at Columbia University, he is currently working on his first cookbook, to be published by Clarkson Potter in Spring 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at Saveur, Bon Appétit, and The New York Times and follow him on Twitter @ericjoonho. Born and raised in Georgia, Eric lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson.