This recipe calls for escarole, but you could substitute Swiss chard or spinach for an equally delicious dish.

Inspired by Bon Appetit, March 2003

Makes 4 servings


  • 1 large head of escarole (or Swiss chard or 2 bunches of spinach), cut into 1” ribbons
  • 16 ounces medium pasta shells
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian turkey sausage (casings removed)
  • 1 red onion, cut into thin slices
  • ¾ tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 3 T oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 3T grated pecorino Romano (or Parmesan) cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the escarole ribbons for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the ribbons from the water and set aside.
  2. Keep the water boiling and add pasta. Cook pasta until al dente. Before draining pasta, ladle out ½ of the cooking water (pot liquor), and set aside. Drain the pasta and return to pot.
  3. In a skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and sauté until cooked, breaking up with a fork, for about 5 minutes. Add remaining 3 tsp olive oil, onion and fennel seeds to the skillet and sauté for about 6 minutes, until the onion is tender. Add the tomatoes, escarole ribbons, and reserved pot liquor to the skillet and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add sausage mixture to pasta and toss. Transfer to serving bowls and sprinkle with cheese.