The Pink Hen pasta with sausage recipe that the Bidens ordered

Pink Hen Mezzi Rigatoni With Fennel Sausage Ragu

Complete time:1 hour

Servings:5 to six (makes about 9 cups)

Complete time:1 hour

Servings:5 to six (makes about 9 cups)


When information broke that President Biden and his spouse, Jill Biden, had each ordered the fennel and sausage rigatoni at Washington’s Pink Hen restaurant, a torrent of questions adopted.

As to the primary query, my colleague Emily Heil took a deep dive into the geniuses or weirdos, relying on whom you ask, who order the identical dish as their companions.

As to the second query, the Mezzi Rigatoni With Fennel Sausage Ragu from chef and co-owner Michael Friedman has been on the menu on the Pink Hen because it opened in 2013, due to in style demand.

And the third? The reply is now sure.

On the heels of the Bidens’ order got here a query in our stay weekly Q&A: “Any probability we are able to get a recipe for the rigatoni from the Pink Hen? I hear it’s wonderful.” Tons extra readers chimed in by e mail requesting the recipe, and, fortunate for us, Friedman was amenable to sharing.

To additional sweeten the deal, the chef scaled down and streamlined the recipe to make it much more accessible for residence cooks. It requires an hour of labor and some pots and pans, however the effort is price it for a dish that coats broad tubes of mezzi rigatoni in a candy and spiced tomato sauce that shines with the floral, anise-y taste of fennel pollen and floor fennel seeds. (Sure, this dish is for fennel lovers solely.) Chunks of spiced Italian sausage (extra fennel!) add bulk and meaty chunk.

If you wish to get the total restaurant expertise of the dish, I extremely suggest springing for the fennel pollen, which is most available on-line. It comes from the identical plant because the dried seeds and contemporary bulbs however is harvested from the blossoms that kind on the fennel fronds. “It’s a distinctive taste profile” that channels the Mediterranean, Friedman says, lending depth generated by a mix of savory and floral notes. In case you get a jar, he recommends utilizing it in salad dressings and spice rubs for roasted meat, fish and greens.

The recipe simply feeds a household for one meal or a smaller family for a number of days. When you style this heat, saucy and satisfying pasta, you’ll perceive why the Bidens every wished a plate.

Pink Hen Mezzi Rigatoni With Fennel Sausage Ragu

The fennel pollen is a signature ingredient of this dish, however in the event you can’t discover it, you may swap in a pinch of dill seed or anise seed.

Make forward: The sauce will be refrigerated for as much as 1 week or frozen for as much as 3 months. Defrost, if wanted, and reheat earlier than including the pasta.

Storage notes: Refrigerate for as much as 3 days.

The place to purchase: Fennel pollen will be discovered on-line, together with at retailers corresponding to Zingerman’s, Spice House and Kalustyan’s. Tomato passata, an raw tomato puree from manufacturers corresponding to Mutti, DeLallo and Cento, will be discovered at well-stocked supermarkets. Pomi strained tomatoes bought in a carton work as properly.

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  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • One (24-ounce) jar tomato passata (see The place to purchase)
  • 2 teaspoons fennel pollen (see Headnote)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon high quality salt, plus extra for the pasta water
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly floor black pepper
  • 1 pound gentle Italian sausage, ideally from hyperlinks with casings eliminated, damaged into 1-inch items
  • 12 ounces dried mezzi rigatoni pasta (could substitute common rigatoni or one other brief pasta with ridges)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons finely grated pecorino Romano, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

In a small skillet over low warmth, toast the fennel seeds till aromatic, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring sometimes. Switch to a plate to chill, then finely grind in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.

Deliver a big pot of water to a boil.

In the meantime, in a chilly giant saucepan, mix 1/4 cup of the olive oil and the garlic. Flip the warmth to medium and cook dinner, stirring sometimes, till the garlic is calmly toasted across the edges, 3 to five minutes. Slowly stir within the passata, adopted by the bottom fennel, fennel pollen, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper. Deliver to a simmer, cut back the warmth to medium-low and cook dinner, stirring sometimes, till considerably thickened and darker, adjusting the warmth as wanted to forestall scorching or splattering, 20 to 25 minutes. Once you drag a spatula by the sauce, it ought to briefly maintain a line the place you may see the pan beneath.

Whereas the sauce is simmering, line a big plate with towels and hold it close by. In a big skillet over medium warmth, warmth the remaining olive oil till shimmering. Add the sausage and cook dinner, stirring sometimes, till well-browned and cooked by, about 10 minutes. Switch the sausage to the ready plate to empty the fats.

Add the sausage to the tomato sauce and proceed to simmer for a further 10 to fifteen minutes.

As soon as the water is boiling, salt it (for about 1 gallon of water, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of high quality salt). Add the pasta and cook dinner in accordance with the package deal directions, till al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water, then drain.

Cut back the warmth beneath the sauce to low, and stir within the butter till it’s included and the combination is shiny. Add the pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and stir to include and create a easy sauce. Add the cooked pasta to the tomato sauce. Steadily add the pasta water, stirring till the sauce coats the pasta. If it appears a bit runny, proceed to cook dinner and stir over low warmth till the sauce adheres to the rigatoni.

Switch to a serving platter or bowl and serve heat, topped generously with extra grated pecorino Romano.

Per serving (1 1/2 cups), primarily based on 6

Energy: 559; Complete Fats: 29 g; Saturated Fats: 9 g; Ldl cholesterol: 42 mg; Sodium: 1,103 mg; Carbohydrates: 51 g; Dietary Fiber: 6 g; Sugar: 8 g; Protein: 19 g

This evaluation is an estimate primarily based on obtainable components and this preparation. It mustn’t substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s recommendation.

Tailored from chef Michael Friedman of the Red Hen in Washington.

Examined by Becky Krystal; e mail inquiries to

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