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Spaghettini with Roasted Fennel & Mozzarella

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Serves two.

  • by Micol Negrin from Fine Cooking
    Issue 25

Fennel seeds and fresh basil echo the subtle licorice flavor of the fresh fennel.

  • 2 medium bulbs fennel, washed and trimmed
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and, if large, halved
  • 1 Tbs. fennel seeds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 canned plum tomatoes, chopped (2/3 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb. dried spaghettini
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 3 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; more for serving

Heat the oven to 450°F. Cut the fennel bulbs into quarters through their cores. With a chef's knife, cut out each core, set the wedges cut side down, and cut them into 1/8-inch slices. In a shallow ovenproof dish or baking pan, toss the fennel with the garlic, fennel seeds, half of the olive oil, the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread the mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan. Roast without stirring until the fennel is limp and somewhat browned, 35 to 45 minutes. (see How to trim fennel)

When the fennel is just cooked, cook the spaghettini until al dente, drain it, and return it to its pot. Add the roasted mixture to the pot and toss. Add the remaining olive oil. Tear the basil into pieces and add it to the pot. Just before serving, toss with the mozzarella and Parmigiano. Serve immediately, with extra Parmigiano on the table.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 1000; Fat (g): 43; Fat Calories (kcal): 380; Saturated Fat (g): 11; Protein (g): 37; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 25; Carbohydrates (g): 121; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5; Sodium (mg): 1390; Cholesterol (mg): 30; Fiber (g): 16;

Photo: Brian Hagiwara

Wow! This was wonderful! You must love mild roasted garlic flavor and a spicy flavor, but this is easy and delicious for weekday adult dinners or easy company.

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