12 ounces uncooked orecchiette or small tube pasta (about 2-1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 medium fennel bulb, chopped
1/2 pound baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts, toasted
Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook sausage and red onion until no longer pink, 3-4 minutes, breaking into crumbles. Add fennel, mushrooms and garlic; cook until tender, 6-8 minutes. Add Swiss chard; cook and stir until wilted, 4-5 minutes longer.
Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water. In a large bowl, combine pasta, sausage mixture, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, adding enough reserved pasta water to coat pasta and create a creamy texture. Serve with remaining cheese and pine nuts.
Test Kitchen tips
Spicy Italian sausage also would complement the flavors in this dish.
The pasta absorbs the cooking liquid quickly, so serve immediately for the best texture.
Health tip: Lighten up this dish by using turkey Italian sausage, and add fiber with whole wheat orecchiette instead of white pasta.