We had 2 bulbs of fennel leftover from our most recent CSA bounty. Since TC isn’t a huge fan, the fennel was all mine (MUAH-HA-HA-HA). I originally wanted to make this dish, except that upon closer inspection, I saw that it requires a 3 pound pork loin. Seemed to be a tad much for little ol’ me on a Monday night. So instead, I did a some Googling and found this recipe, which looked promising. I decided to add a small tin of anchovies just to mix it up a little. It turned out great, if I do say so myself. (TC didn’t like it, but I think it’s due to the fennel seeds since they have a much stronger licorice flavor than the fresh fennel.) Anyway, without further ado, here’s the recipe!
Anchovy and Fennel Pasta (adapted from Molly Watson at About.com)
* 1 small tin of anchovies in olive oil, chopped to 1/2 inch pieces. (Save the oil)
* 1 lb. spaghetti
* 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
* 1/4 tsp. red chile flakes
* 2 small bulbs fennel, halved and thinly sliced (about 2-3 cups)
* 2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed (use a mortar and pestle or bash with the bottom of a frying pan)
* 1 cup pasta water
* 1/4-1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
* Parmesan, pecorino, or asiago cheese for garnishing
* freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until tender to the bite. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid before you drain the noodles.
2. Fry the anchovies, its associated oil, and garlic in a large pan over medium high heat. Cook until garlic begins to brown and anchovies melt.
3. Add chili flakes, fennel, and fennel seeds. Combine and cook until fennel softens a bit, about 2 minutes. Add the reserve pasta water, cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook until fennel is quite tender, about 5-15 minutes depending on how thick the fennel is.
4. Add parsley and drained pasta, stir to combine. Heat through for about one minute.
5. Serve with freshly ground pepper and Parmesan cheese, to taste.
Bonus photo! Here’s the fava bean recipe that we tried last week. It turned out pretty good even though we didn’t have enough beans — the recipe calls for 3 cups dried beans and we had about 1/2 cup of fresh favas. Oops. We also added bacon to the vegan recipe (my apologies Isa Chandra), which was very tasty. We served it on top of long grain rice. Even though we made a whole pan, it was all gone in one night!