Turkey Sausage & Fennel Pasta

We often use ground turkey in place of ground beef, usually in a tomato-based pasta sauce, in meatloaf or in the form of turkey burgers. Featured in the December 2020 issue of Prevention magazine, ground turkey holds its own in a turkey sausage and pasta dish. Homemade Turkey Sausage, Fennel, and Arugula blends the flavors of spicy sausage, thanks to fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, garlic and paprika, and is served over pasta.

Prevention recommends chickpea rigatoni, but we used whole wheat spaghetti. The simple and tasty recipe can be partially prepared ahead of time by mixing together the sausage ingredients, plus the leftovers are a delicious bonus.


  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated, divided
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 12 oz. pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 large bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups loosely packed baby arugula
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese


  1. In bowl, combine turkey, paprika, half of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until just fully mixed (can be made and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead).
  2. Cook pasta per package directions, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid before draining.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet on medium high. Add fennel seeds to skillet and quickly add bite-size pieces of sausage mixture on top, gently pressing. Cook until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Toss and cook just until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to plate.
  4. Wipe out skillet and heat remaining tablespoon oil on medium. Add sliced fennel and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in remaining garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice, 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
  5. Gently fold pasta and arugula into fennel mixture, then half of sausage, adding more cooking liquid if pasta seems dry. Served topped with remaining sausage and Pecorino Romano.

The December 2020 issue of Prevention is available upon request for curbside pickup at Whitehall Public Library by calling 412-882-6622. It’s also available on the Libby app, or here : https://acla.overdrive.com/media/5830810

Turkey Sausage & Fennel Pasta
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