Belinda Jeffrey: Penne with Tomato, Italian Sausage & Fennel

Hi there!

It feels like it’s been a while.  Lately I feel like it’s been hard to decide what to blog about.  I’m not sure if it’s the warming weather or just a little of cooking fatigue – but whatever it is – I’m back and it’s good!

My recipe today is one I discovered recently and am absolutely in love with.  Belinda Jeffrey is pretty new to me, although looks like I am very late in discovering her.  I was at Bell’s house recently and was scouring her cookbooks.  After borrowing her hubby’s Indian Cookbook (without his permission – sorry S!), Bells suggested Belinda’s book “100 Favourite Recipes” and I was instantly inspired!

Naturally with a 6yo boy in the house I do try to consider him when preparing my menu each week (although sometimes I do throw caution to the wind and cook something I just know he won’t even go near – just because I think Hubby and I will like it.  We can’t be slaves to our children’s needs all the time can we???)

So this particular meal has all the hallmarks of a “child-friendly” meal.  Having said that, the first night I dished this up I had a friend staying and Willem (the 6yo) was showing off a little and decided it wasn’t to his liking.  When it has just been the 3 of us he has happily eaten it up.

I love a good italian sausage.  I do find it hard to find quality sausages around these parts – but I make do and still manage to cook a delightfully wholesome dish.  I love this meal because it’s so easy, so tasty and very much a one-pot dish (with the exception of cooking up some pasta).

Here’s the recipe…


2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 large bulb fennel, finely chopped

600g Italian-style sausages

1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato pesto

1 small red chilli, finely chopped (optional)

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 x 800g can crushed or diced tomatoes

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

500g penne (or rigatoni)

large handful of parsley, coarsely chopped

  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic and fennel and cook them, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes, or until slightly translucent
  • Slit the end of each sausage and squeeze out small meatball size blobs of meat spacing them all around the frypan.  Stir these around until brown.  Next add the pesto, fennel seeds and chilli and cook them for a minute.  Finally stir in the tomatoes and season it with salt and pepper.
  • Let the sauce come to a gentle bubble, and then reduce the heat a bit and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until it’s quite thick.
  • Cook the pasta and when it’s ready add it to the pan and stir through so all the pasta is well coated with the sauce.
  • Dish it up and scatter with chopped parsley.  Enjoy!!

Willem also wanted me to put in a picture of his plate too (half eaten).

I’m pretty sure fennel must be almost out of season (must check that) because the past few weeks I have had a terrible time finding it.  So this might be one of those dishes you may have to bookmark and cook in the cooler months – which is not now here in Sydney.  It was quite steamy today.

“Til next time…


Penne on FoodistaPenne


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bells
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 20:26:52

    welcome back! I’ve missed your posts. I am not entirely sure I’ve ever made this one from that book. I think maybe I told you I had but I was confused because I cook a similar Jamie one all the time with fennel and salami.

    Either way, welcome to Belinda Jeffrey. I never knew who she was until I got these books. Love love love!


  2. 2paw
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 20:36:52

    I have BJ’s baking book and it is very good too. The pasta looks nice and must be good if a 3yo recommends it!!


  3. Rose Red
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 20:46:10

    mmmm, looks and sounds delicious (and easy! I like easy!)

    Fennel is a winter vege – good for soups too! So yes, might have to put this recipe away for the summer. Bummer, as I’d have liked to try it. Must remember for next year!


  4. Katerina
    Nov 13, 2010 @ 22:31:00

    That’s exactly my point in my last post. My son is the same. But this one looks perfect nto only to children but to us also.


  5. Alisa
    Nov 14, 2010 @ 19:37:06

    This is delicious! I came across your site from the foodieblogroll and I’d love to guide Foodista readers to your site. I hope you could add this Foodista widget at the end of this post so we could add you in our list of food bloggers who blogged about Penne, Thanks!


  6. Island Mom
    Nov 15, 2010 @ 15:23:21

    Yum, the fennel sounds good! If you don’t feel like chopping red chili, try a pinch of red chili flakes. I also like to add a fresh red & green veggie, whatever’s in season (green beans, quartered tomatoes, red or green bell peppers, asparagus, peas, zuccini….)


  7. Medifast
    Nov 16, 2010 @ 02:06:01

    Oh how nice, thanks for a great dinner idea for the week.


  8. vincent
    Nov 16, 2010 @ 06:25:34


    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it – great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
    and benefit from their exposure on

    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use or just go to and click on “Add your site”

    Best regards,



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