The picture did not come out as good as I wanted it to, but I may take a photography class so I can get better at this. I have noticed that my pictures are lacking the appeal I want it to have. That is a home grown tomato. Don't ask me how much it cost to get that one tomato. I cut the recipe in 1/2, but I will give you the whole recipe.
Printable Version: Baked Ziti in a Mornay Sauce with Italian Sausage and Fennel
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups of milk
Freshly ground white pepper
6 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced (I used the whole bulb with the outside taken off)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds hot Italian sausage links, but into 1/2 inch pieces (I took the sausage out of the casing)
1 pound ziti pasta, cooked al dente
1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonaded
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, 1/2 cup at a time. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly for 4-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Set aside and keep warm.
In a large saute pan, over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the fennel. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add the sausage and continue to saute for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta, sausage mixture and Mornay sauce. Mix well. Pour into a greased 2-quart oval baking dish. Sprinkle the top with cheese and place in the oven on the top rack. Bake until the top is golden brown and bubbly, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Spoon onto serving plates and garnish with fresh basil.