As one of Mark Bittman's newest fans, I now bring you the first thing I made from his book, "The Food Matters Cookbook". I think fennel is so pretty as well as being crunchy and delicious, and I'm always happy to find a way to use it. (okay so this only the second time I've ever used it, but who's counting?)
I really liked this dish, and all members of the family managed to eat some, so that's saying a lot. I added some ground chicken sausage, and sauteed spinach for color.
Here's the recipe for you:
Makes: 4 servings
- 3 large or 4 medium fennel bulbs, cored and sliced
- 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
- Black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces any pasta, preferably whole wheat
- 1/2 cup white wine, optional
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put the fennel, onion, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper in a large, deep skillet over medium-low heat. Cover and cook, stirring every 5 minutes, until the vegetables have given up their liquid and are almost sticking to the pan. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook, uncovered, until the vegetables are nicely browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.
2. Cook the pasta in boiling water until it's tender but not mushy. When it's almost done, turn the heat under the skillet to medium, add the wine or some of the pasta cooking water to the pan, and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the cooking water. Toss the pasta in the pan with the fennel and onion, adding a little of the pasta cooking water if the dish seems dry. Season as desired and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Serve immediately.
BTW...I'm really enjoying this cookbook. There are so many things I'm looking forward to making, I don't even know where to start!