Pork and Fennel Pasta

I have made this pork and fennel pasta for years. I think I may have first gotten the idea of squeezing out the sausage mince from the sausage casings from one of the many cooking magazines that I read. Mum makes something similar so I must have made it for her one time too. Mum’s variation is that instead of mashing up the sausage mince into a chunky mince like consistency, she shapes it into meatballs.

My favourite pasta to have this with is rigatoni, but I couldn’t find any on the day I wanted it. Singapore supermarkets are a bit like that sometimes. One time I’ll see rigatoni pasta there but the next time they aren’t stocking it. It happens even more with fresh produce. I know for a fact I’ve gotten fresh flat leaf parsley from that one supermarket but I can’t find it there the next time. It’s frustrating and makes me realise how great Australian supermarkets are in that sense…or at least the ones that I am used to.

In saying that though, years ago I used to make this with a specific type of sausage from Coles. I even remember that it was called a Toulouse Style sausage and it was from Coles’ own brand. One day they just stopped making it though and I think that’s when I started adding the fresh fennel seeds in to replicate the lovely flavours in the discontinued sausage. Now I just buy any simply flavoured thick pork sausage that I can find.


I used penne instead this time and it still worked quite well. Because this pasta sauce is quite chunky, a pasta that is tube shaped works really well at holding that lovely chunky sausage sauce. Of course, you can use whatever you have in the cupboard. I assure you it will still taste great.



Give the fennel seeds a good bash to break them up a bit. This will help distribute the fennel flavour through the pasta sauce.



Break up the sausage mince as you cook it. You will still end up with quite a chunky texture.



Simmering the sauce while the pasta cooks will reduce the sauce a bit, developing the flavours.



The small amount of cream added right at the end is enough to make the sauce lovely and silky but not so much that it turns into a creamy sauce.


Pork and Fennel Pasta

Ingredients – serves 2-3

  • 1 medium red or white onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 thick pork sausages or about 350g of pork sausage mince
  • 1 tsp of whole fennel seeds, lightly bashed and broken in a mortar and pestle
  • ¼ tsp of dried chilli flakes
  • ¾ cup of passata
  • Thyme leaves from 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup of penne or your choice of dried pasta
  • ¼ cup of thin cream



  1. Put a large pot of heavily salted water onto boil for the pasta.
  2. While the water is heating up, heat a frying pan on a separate burner on medium heat.
  3. Add a small amount of olive oil to the frying pan and then sauté the onion and garlic until they start to soften.
  4. Squeeze the sausage mince from their casings and add the sausage mince to the pan with the onions and garlic.
  5. While the sausage mince is lightly browning, break it up with a wooden spoon so that it is not all stuck together but still a chunkier texture than a regular mince would be.
  6. Once the sausage mince is broken up and cooked through, add the chilli and the broken up fennel seeds.
  7. Stir just until fragrant or about a minute.
  8. Next, add the passata, thyme and 1/3 cup of water to the frying pan. Stir well and bring to the boil.
  9. At this point, you can put the pasta on to cook in the boiling water. Cook the pasta as per the packet instructions.
  10. Once the pasta sauce has come up to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until it has reduced slightly. I normally just simmer the sauce for as long as the pasta takes to cook.
  11. Once the pasta is cooked al dente, drain completely then add it to the simmering pasta sauce. You can add a bit of the starchy pasta cooking water if you like as well.
  12. Stir through the cream and toss all together to ensure the pasta is all coated.
  13. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread.  Leftovers heat up well in the microwave.


pork and fennel pasta





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Hi! I’m Taryn. The Wooden Spoons is a food blog and collection of wooden spoons, recipes and stories. I’m a Canberra fan-girl with a passion for all things food. I love South East Asian food, fusion food done well and slow cooked anything. I don’t get quinoa, have a mild phobia of milk touching my skin and custard from a package freaks me out. Thanks for joining me on my cooking and food adventures.
  1. Mum Reply

    Yep this is a staple in our house. I would make it at least once a fortnight when I am working as it is quick and delicious. I also sometimes add a good dash of red wine vinegar and sugar quickly heated to dissolve the sugar before adding to the sauce. Adds a nice twist

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