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Fennel & Tomato Ragù with Fennel Sausage 

26 February 2024

Slooooooow cooked & caramelised fennel, stewed in crushed tomatoes and studded with crispy fried fennel sausage. Yeah baby! Ok, I said slow cooked, but really you just need 20 minutes or so for the fennel and onions to soften and caramelise. In the meantime you can pan fry the gnocchi. All in all this little dish took me about 45 minutes to make.

Tip: don’t have fennel sausage? Then just use regular sausages and add a few spoons of fennel seeds to fry along. It really works a charm!

Want to keep it vegetarian? Then leave the sausage out but I would definitely sauté the fennel seeds with the fennel and tomato mix. Would also go great with a piece of fish, squid or pan fried gamba’s.

Fennel & Tomato Ragù with Fennel Sausage 

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Dinner Mediterranean, Italian
By Saffron Serves: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes


  • The Ragù
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 pork sausages
  • 1 – 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, thinky sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced, green fronds set aside
  • 500 g small tomatoes, halved
  • 50 g parmesan cheese, grated (more to taste)
  • Pepper & Salt
  • To serve (see notes)
  • 1 packet dried gnocchi (500 g)
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • Pepper & salt



Heat the olive oil in a frying pan which has a lid.


Remove the skins from the sausages and add the meat into the pan together with the fennel seeds. Break down the sausages into small bite size pieces and let sizzle away, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy on all sides, ± 8 minutes. Remove the sausage and fennel seeds from the pan (no worries if a few seeds stay behind) and set aside.


Add the onions, garlic and a pinch of salt to the same pan and sauté on low to medium heat until softened and fragrant, ± 5 minutes. Add a drop of oilive oil if the pan is too dry. Now add the thinly sliced fennel and sauté slowly on low to medium heat until the fennel has softened and caramelized, ± 20 minutes. Stir now and then but not too often, this will help it brown.


Add the tomatoes and turn the heat up to medium. Stir so everything is coated and scrape the goodness off the bottom of the pan. ± 3 minutes.


Turn the heat down and place a lid on the pan. Let it slowly stew until the tomatoes break down and create a thick sauce. Lift the lid now and then and squash the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. ± 15 minutes.


In the meantime you van make the gnocchi. In a separate frying pan heat some olive oil and add the gnocchi straight from the packaging. Pan fry on medium heat while you keep tossing until golden and brown. ± 10 – 15 minutes. Season with pepper and salt.


Just before serving stir the parmesan cheese into the tomato fennel mix and add the sausages and fennel seeds. Stir to heat through. If the ragu is too dry you can add a tablespoon or 2 of water.


Serve with the green fennel fronds sprinkled over the top and a drizzle of good quality olive oil. Enjoy!


To make your life easier you can also just boil the gnocchi for 3 minutes or cook some pasta.

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