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3-Ingredient Orecchiette with Sausage and Fennel

['12 ounces orecchiette or other short pasta', 'Kosher salt', '1 tablespoon olive oil', '12 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed', '1 fennel bulb (about 12 ounces), cored, thinly sliced, fronds chopped and reserved', 'Freshly ground black pepper']

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through and browned and crispy in spots, 6–8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
Add sliced fennel to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fennel begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, adding 1/4 cup water to skillet as bottom begins to brown (you may need to do this a few times), until soft and caramelized, 10–15 minutes more.
Add pasta and reserved pasta cooking liquid to skillet and cook, tossing to coat, until liquid has reduced to a creamy sauce, about 4 minutes. Add sausage and fennel fronds, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.

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