1/2 lb linguine (I like Dreamfields)
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 links sweet Italian chicken sausage, cut in half lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
2 ribs celery, cut in half lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1 large tomato, cored and seeded, diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
12 black olives (from a can), roughly chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Lots of fresh black pepper
1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Set a large stockpot of water on the stove on high heat. When the water boils, cook the linguine according to package directions, stopping a minute before the pasta is fully cooked. Drain, and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare and wash the leeks: cut off the root end, and cut right where the white leek meets the dark green leaves. (Save the leaves for soup stock.) Slice through the leeks lengthwise, then sliced across into 1/4-inch pieces. Place the leek pieces in a large mixing bowl and fill with cool water. Agitate with your hand to dislodge any dirt clinging to the leeks. Then, let the bowl sit, undisturbed, while the pasta cooks. (The dirt will sink to the bottom.)
In a large nonstick sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage, and cook until lightly browned on both sides, 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or small strainer, skim the leeks off the surface of the bowl, trying not to disturb the sediment that has settled to the bottom, and add the leeks to the sausage along with the red pepper and celery. Sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the fennel seed, tomato, wine and olives. Raise heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down and the sauce is bubbling. Add the thyme, and cook for 1 minute, then add the linguine, and stir well to coat the pasta with the sauce. Season to taste with black pepper.
Pour the pasta into a serving bowl, top with the parmesan cheese, and toss.