Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the sausage meat, using a fork or wooden spatula to break the meat into small pieces. Allow to fry for around 10 minutes, until the sausage is nicely browned.
Add the onion, fennel (not including the fennel tops), fennel seeds, (optional) chili and garlic. Fry the mixture for a further 15 minutes or so.
Add the pinot noir and use your wooden spoon to loosen up and incorporate any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. allowing the mixture to cook until the alcohol evaporates. Add the canned tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, then cover the pan with a lid and simmer gently for about half an hour. Smash up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon as you simmer. Add in coarsely chopped fennel fronds at the end when you start cooking your pasta.
Bring a pan of generously salted water to a rolling boil, before adding your chosen pasta. Rigatoni or the new pasta shape, Cascatelli, work well. Cook the pasta until al dente. Be sure to save a cup of the cooking water to add to the sauce.
Strain the pasta, reserving a cup or so of cooking water. Add the pasta to the pan containing the sauce. Toss to combine, adding a splash of starchy cooking water as necessary to loosen the sauce.
Serve immediately with 3 Pigs Pinot Noir, finishing the dish with more freshly cracked black pepper and Italian hard cheese.