* Note: save time by cooking the "sauce" while the pasta cooks; save dishes by cooking the sauce in the pasta pot after you've drained the noodles. *
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
- 1/2 lb. spaghetti or other long noodles
- 1 bulb fennel
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 tsp. red chile flakes or 1 small red or green chile
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more for the pasta water
- 1/2 cup white wine or broth
- Parmesan, pecorino, or asiago cheese for garnishing
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until just barely tender to the bite (it will cook a bit more in the sauce), reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid before you drain the noodles.
- While the water boils and the pasta cooks, prep the other ingredients. Halve the fennel bulb and thinly slice it. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. If using a fresh chile, remove the stem and seeds and thinly slice it. Crush the fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle or put them in a small resealable plastic bag and smash them with the bottom of a heavy frying pan. Mince the parsley.
- Heat the oil in a large frying or saute pan or the pasta pot over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it just starts to turn golden and brown at the edges. Add the chile flakes or fresh chile, stir to combine. Add the fennel, fennel seeds, and 1/2 tsp. of the salt and cook, stirring, until the fennel softens a bit, about 2 minutes. Add the wine or broth, cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook until fennel is quite tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the parsley, stir to combine. Add the drained pasta and the reserved pasta liquid, stir to combine, increase heat and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and evaporated and all the flavors have combined, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Serve with plenty of Parmesan, Pecorino, or whatever hard cheese you like on top of your pasta.
Makes 2 to 3 servings Fennel Pasta.