Roasted fennel gives this simple pasta dish a nutty, caramelized flavor that is hard to find anywhere else.
Fennel is quickly becoming one of my favorite ingredients. I was a bit hesitant to use it at first. When most people describe it, they say it tastes like licorice. It DOES. But not overbearingly so.
With its light anise flavor, it melts into a savory sweetness when slowly cooked, which is how I prepared it the first time around. This Sausage & Fennel Ragout with Creamy Polenta slow simmers spicy Italian sausage, with fennel and white wine. The result is a fabulously salty/sweet/spicy combination. And, to date, it’s still one of the recipes I get asked for most by those who’ve tried it.
After that first fennel experiment, I got my courage up to try fennel raw. I was a bit more timid to try fennel this way because I thought it would be extra potent in it’s natural state. Not so when it’s thinly sliced. This Fennel & Celery Salad is crisp and refreshing, with a bit of saltiness from the parmesan and a blast of buttery flavor toasted pine nuts. The flavors all play really nicely together.
With this pasta dish, I took on a new way (for me) to serve fennel – Roasted. Baking fennel at a high heat gives it a nutty, caramelized flavor – A perfect compliment to the zesty lemon sauce that we’re tossing it with and serving over fresh linguini, topped with toasted breadcrumbs and a dollop of ricotta cheese. Yep… Yum. Crunchy, creamy, tangy. Plus, we’re garnishing it with the fennel fronds – The frilly little leaves, that look like dill, growing off the stocks of the fennel. Yep, fennel comes with its own garnish – Bonus points Mr. Fennel.
I'm Erin - a self-taught weeknight cook. I occasionally like to delve into the more complicated recipes, like homemade pasta, Cioppino, and boeuf bourguignon. But for the most part, I work full-time, come home, pour a glass of vino and start cooking away.