Italian Sausage with Fennel, Peppers, and Onions

Here is another “wicked good” one!  I served this with the recently posted Mashed Potato Casserole and it was just an amazing combination of flavors, both within each recipe and among the two. Talk about comfort food with a complex flair!

And, just a reminder – I don’t have tons of time to post, never mind proofread, so please forgive typos and grammar errors – but feel free to point them out to me, also.  Thanks!

I made the recipe exactly as presented.  Here it is, followed by more discussion by me.  🙂

Italian Sausage with Fennel, Peppers, and Onions Gourmet | April 2008
by Melissa Roberts
The fennel bulb we’ve added to this Little Italy combo is a natural complement to the fennel seeds in the sausage.
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Active Time: 15 min
Total Time: 40 min

4 Italian frying peppers (Cubanelle) cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large fennel bulb, bulb quartered, then cut into 2-inch-wide pieces and 1/4 cup fronds coarsely chopped (discard stalks)
1 large onion, quartered and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage links, halved crosswise
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat broiler.
Toss together all ingredients except fennel fronds with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large shallow baking pan. Broil 4 inches from heat until sausage is browned and vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Turn over and stir, then broil until sausage is just cooked through and vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes more. Serve sprinkled with fennel fronds.


I believe I mentioned in my previous post that I made this because I had fennel in my fridge that I had bought the week before.  I now remember why I had fennel in my fridge.  While I don’t remember what recipe I was going to try, I know it called for a bulb of fennel.  I went to Farm Land, which is my favorite grocery store,  and found….a bulb of what was called “anise.”  Hmmm, I said to myself, is it the same thing?  I bought it, but then got sidetracked and didn’t research fennel and anise until this week.  Turns out that the plant that is officially known as anise is used only for its seeds, whereas the names fennel and anise are used interchangeably when referring to the fresh bulb of what is actually fennel.  SO, if it looks like this, it is what you want, providing you are looking for fresh fennel!

Fresh fennel, aka "anise" or "sweet anise"
Fresh fennel, aka "anise" or "sweet anise"

This recipe asked for the bulb and fronds, only.  Save the stems and munch on them like a stick of celery  for a tasty snack.  I am munching on a stalk as I write this.  Very refreshing.

chopped fennel bulb and fronds
chopped fennel bulb and fronds

This recipe calls for another ingredient with which I was not really familiar, although it turns out I have been seeing them for years at, you guessed it, Farm Land!  Cubanelle peppers are long and thin like chili peppers, but are mild in flavor, considered to be a sweet pepper.  To me, the flavor is lighter yet also more intense than bell peppers.  Does that make sense?  Hmmm.  I’ll have to buy some more and think about it.  Anyway, I forgot to take a picture of them whole, but here there are chopped and ready to go into the dish:

Cubenelle peppers
Cubenelle peppers

Along with cutting up the onion (I used 1 and 1/2 of regular size rather than one large), I used 2 sweet and 4 hot Italian sausages from Farm Land.  The total of 6 came, conveniently, to the 1.5 pounds called for in the recipe.

While I would prefer to use meats from animals that have NOT gone though the typical “manufacturing process used by the bulk of our food industries, I do feel better about using sausages and ground meats from Farmland because they make/grind their own so you are not eating a mixture of meat from god knows how many cows or pigs in each bit, and don’t add lots of unnecessary ingredients.   Plus, they make really delicious sausages!

Ready for the broiler
Ready for the broiler

Once all the ingredients are chopped – just toss with the olive oil and salt and pop in the pre-heated broiler, turning one part way through, as directed.

the finished product

Then, eat.  It is really, really good!  And, it is even better when matched with those Mashed Potatoes with collards.  Just a great blend of flavors.  Both recipes and the combo are keepers at my house!

To my vegetarian readers – try this with a vegetarian sausage or maybe even with flavored tofu or tempeh and let me know how it comes out.  🙂