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Golden Fall Bolognese - Butternut, Fennel & Sausage Rigatoni

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

This is the ultimate fall pasta and is already a staple for me! It brings together all of my favorite flavors in one dish.

If you've been following me for a while now you know I have a recipe for what I call "special pasta" which is a white fennel & sausage ragu style sauce - this is similar to that recipe but with butternut!

Time: about 45 minutes

Serves: 6 people

You'll need:

  • 1/2 yellow onion

  • 1 medium fennel bulb

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 cup white wine - sauv blanc 0r pinot grigio

  • 1/2 cup chicken or veggie broth

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken hot Italian sausage (chicken or pork)

  • 1 cup butternut puree

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1/3 cup cream

  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

  • 6 servings of pasta - I like rigatoni for this one!

  • Optional: fresh parmesan & herbs for topping (like thyme or rosemary)


  1. For the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, heavily salt it and add a tablespoon of oil. You can start the sauce while you wait for the water to boil. Add in the pasta and cook according to the time listed on the package. Try a noodle prior to turning the stove off just to make sure it's actually done. Save a cup of pasta water and then drain the pasta and keep it covered until you're done making the sauce.

  2. For the sauce: start by heating a tablespoon of oil or butter in a large sauce pot or dutch oven. Meanwhile dice the onion and fennel into 1cm size pieces. Next add the onion and fennel into the pot and stir - add a pinch of salt and pepper. Once the onion is translucent, add in the garlic and stir.

  3. Once the garlic is fragrant (smells like cooked garlic rather than raw garlic) add a splash (approx 1/4 cup) of wine. When the wine has cooked down add a splash of broth, then repeat again with wine.

  4. Once the wine has cooked down, add in the sausage. Turn the heat to medium high and break the sausage up as it cooks. Once its fully cooked on the outside, let it sit for a minute at a time without stirring as much so it can start to brown & get some color. Once the sausage is browned, turn the heat to medium low and add a splash of wine or broth to deglaze the pot.

  5. Next add in the tomato paste, butternut puree & the rest of the wine/ veggie broth. Stir until its all mixed. Once the butternut is mixed in and warm, add in the cream and stir again. The sauce should lightly simmer but if its a heavy simmer turn the heat all the way to low. Once the pasta is done, add a 1/2 cup of paster water into the sauce and stir - depending on how saucy you want it to be you can add another splash or two.

  6. Mix the pasta into the sauce, stirring gently so you don't break it all! Let it cook together for about 5 minutes then serve! Top with red pepper flakes, fresh parm, fresh black pepper and fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary.

This pasta is definitely enough for a meal on its own but goes really well with a nice baby kale fall salad or some sautéed green veggies like brussels + french green beans + broccolini.

Serve with white or red wine! Pairs well with a dry Sauv Blanc or a nice buttery chardonnay, also a classic chianti if you want red wine. I don't know a whole lot about wine pairing but I did accidentally open a sweeter white wine and it did not pair well at all so I had to pivot :)

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