Antoni Porowski’s Pasta with Sausage, Lemon and Parsley
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 pound trumpet pasta, garganelli, campanelle, or other short tubular pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
½ cup medium-dry white wine, such as Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio
1 packed tablespoon grated lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 ounces), plus more for serving
¾ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Coarsely ground black pepper
1. In a small dry skillet, toast the fennel seeds over medium-low heat, shaking the pan back and forth, until the seeds are fragrant and lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool, then crush with a mortar and pestle or the bottom of a heavy pot. Set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it ’til it tastes like the ocean (taste it). Add the pasta and cook until it’s about 2 minutes under al dente.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until deeply golden in spots, about 6 minutes. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until about half of the liquid is evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice. Whisk in the butter one piece at a time, just until melted and incorporated, to form a nice silky sauce.
4. Scoop out ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water and reserve. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the cheese, ½ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water, ½ teaspoon salt, and the fennel seeds. Quickly toss everything together to coat the pasta, adding more of the pasta cooking liquid if the dish appears dry, then stir in the parsley. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
5. Serve immediately, topped with pepper and a sprinkling of more cheese.