Yield: 6 servings
1 lb. bite-sized pasta, such as gemelli, cavatappi, fusilli or penne
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. bulk spicy chicken sausage
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
½ head radicchio, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 red Anjou pear, cut into medium-sized chunks, tossed with a squeeze of lemon
1 cup white wine
½ cup whipping cream
to taste, salt and pepper
½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
¼ cup toasted and chopped walnuts
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
Start pasta water to boil and have all ingredients cut, measured and ready to cook so pasta water comes to a boil halfway through cooking time for ingredients. Finish the sauce as pasta cooks.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, then add oil. After about a minute, add sausage to pan, dropping pieces by the spoonful to brown. Break up any large chunks so sausage cooks evenly. When sausage is cooked through, about 5 minutes, remove from pan and transfer to a plate; keep it warm. Add shallots and fennel; sauté until they just start to turn golden at the edges. Add radicchio and toss to coat. Next, add pear pieces and work them gently to get them into hot oil so they start to take on color. This should take about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove vegetables to sausage plate.
Check pasta water. When it reaches a rolling boil, add a generous pinch of salt, then add pasta. Stir well and let it return to a boil. Reduce heat, but allow pasta to move well in the water.
Finish sauce by adding wine to the pan. Scrape up all bits and mix into wine. Let reduce by half. Add the cream and return to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Check pasta for doneness, then strain and shake off any excess water and put into a bowl for serving. Add vegetables and sausage back to the pan and mix with sauce. Combine sauced vegetables and sausage mixture; toss to coat.
To serve: Top each plated dish with Parmesan, walnuts and parsley.