Sausage, Fennel Seed and Tomato Crostini

I want to win a week in a Tuscany Villa!

I was recently challenged to create a Tuscan-inspired recipe, which included three key Tuscan ingredients – olive oil, tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.

Tuscany, Tuscany, Tuscany…

I last visited Tuscany around nine years ago, during a visit to my sister, who lives in a small village in the North of Italy. We challenged ourselves to take a cross-country coach trip to the alluring town of Florence and I think it remains the single most memorable daytrip of my life. 
We passed through the region of Chianti and I was simply stunned by the beauty of the Tuscan countryside. Since then, it has always been my dream to go back and visit Tuscany.
So, here goes. I have created a recipe called Tuscan-Inspired Sausage, Fennel Seed and Tomato Crostini. I remember eating plenty of crostini and brushetta in Florence, although not with sausage meat though I hope the Italians would approve.
In Tuscany, the flavour of fennel and fennel seeds is common although if you can’t find fennel sausages you could just use the best-quality lean pork sausages you can find and flavour with fennel seeds.  Italians often buy good sausages and split them open to use the meat.

Creating Italian recipes is never a chore for me, since I love nothing more than to stop by at my local Italian delicatessen called Buongiorno Italia. Established over 30 years ago, Tony, the owner, is always super keen to recommend fantastic Italian produce as well as some wonderful fresh seasonal produce and the most amazing locally-made gelato.

So, I picked up the three key ingredients – Olive Oil which happens to come from Tuscany called Seggiano – produced by smallholders from the Olivastra olives of Seggiano in Tuscany, Pomidori Pelati Italiani (Italian peeled tomatoes) and of course, the obligatory wedge of Parmesan Cheese.  
I also found some Salsiccia Finocchio – Fennel Seed Sausages – made at La Bottega di Ado, some fresh garlic, one white onion, fresh ciabatta and fresh basil.

Tuscan-Inspired Sausage, Fennel Seed and Tomato Crostini
Serves 4


1 small loaf Ciabatta or other country-style bread
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 whole garlic cloves, minced or crushed
4 best-quality pork sausages, flavoured with fennel if possible
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
200g Italian peeled plum tomatoes (in a tin)
2 teaspoons tomato puree
50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
A few springs of fresh basil


1. Remove the sausages from their casings and put to one side.

2. Put a large frying pan on a medium heat, pour in two tablespoons of olive oil and gently fry the chopped onion. Once it starts to soften, add the garlic and gently fry too for just a few minutes.

3. Add the fennel seeds into the pan and stir then add the sausage meat into the pan, breaking it up with your hands as it goes in.  Fry for around 6 minutes on a medium head, until the sausage meat browns and is cooked through. If there if too much fat, you could drain a little off at this stage. Keep stirring the sausage meat to break it up some more and make sure it doesn’t burn or stick.

4. Add the tinned tomatoes and tomato puree and stir well. Sprinkle some of the Parmesan cheese into the pan which will help to bind the sausage meat making it easier for topping the toast.

5. Leave the sausage and tomato mixture to cook gently while your prepare the crostini/bread.

6. Slice your Ciabatta or other bread (I like to cut mine diagonally across the loaf) drizzle with the rest of the olive oil and either place under the grill or in a griddle pan until golden.

7. Top each slice of bread with some of the sausage mixture, a scattering of more Parmesan cheese and some fresh basil leaves.


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  1. Cubicle.com says:

    >Mmmmm…this is making my mouth water! Sounds delish!

  2. Tres Delicious says:

    >It looks great, Thanks for the recipe. love your post.

  3. Sally - My Custard Pie says:

    >Voted – yours is the best recipe.

  4. Karen S Booth says:

    >I managed to vote now……you are on 27, hopefully you will get more votes over the weekend.
    Re. WordPress, I have been thinking of switching, I have registered my name there already, is it an easy switch do you know?
    PS: wish I had the time to get to Food Blogger Connect…..oh well, next time.

  5. Fabulicious Food says:

    >Paul – I will see you at Food Blogger Connect on Sunday! I'm switching to WordPress very soon so am very interested to hear about the new plug-in.

  6. Fabulicious Food says:

    >Thank you so much Jude!

    Paul that's very kind of you to say 🙂

    Sausage King – thank you for your vote! I am late to the party! Only just found the competition so everyone has already received lots of votes. I have till Monday!!! The top three go through. Inspired a yummy recipe though so all is not lost!

  7. Sausage King says:

    >This looks wonderful! I've voted but the recipe above you has 129 votes? 🙁

  8. Paul - GetMeCooking says:

    >This is what I like – simple food, good quality ingredients and great taste!

  9. A Trifle Rushed says:

    >Ren, you get my vote, this sounds delicious…Good Luck. Jude x

  10. Fabulicious Food says:

    >Thanks Karen – I should have added that there might be a delay becuase I only just submitted it by email and so they will have to get the post up there with the rest!

    I love fennel and sausage, such a natural combination.

  11. Karen S Booth says:

    >PS:I cannot find your recipe there Ren…..

  12. Karen S Booth says:

    >I use fennel seeds a lot in cooking, especially Italian cooking and they go so well with pork and sausages…..your recipe looks a winner and I am on my way over to vote now!
    Good Luck!

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