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Have you met my buddy Fennel?
We are the best of fronds!
This morning, I had this beautiful fennel sitting in my fridge and decided to make a pasta dish that would highlight its unique, sensual flavors. This is what I ended up making.
noodles (I used multi-grain spaghetti, about 4oz before cooking)
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 bulb fennel
1/4 tsp Hungarian paprika (leave it out if you don't have it, but I was sure glad I had it!)
1 tsp fennel seeds (not essential since there's already plenty of fennel, but I'm always happy to put more fennel in with my fennel!)
a handful of parsley, chopped
several handfuls of spinach leaves
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste
Boil and drain the noodles according to package instructions.
Remove the fronds from the fennel (I put mine back in the fridge to use for soup later on!). Slice the bulb into bite-sized pieces. Don't worry about the tough parts; they'll soften up when you cook them.
Heat the olive oil medium-low in a large pan. Add the garlic and let it cook for a minute or two; it's cool if it starts to brown a little but don't let it burn. Add the chopped fennel, and the paprika and/or fennel seeds if you're using them. You could add a little salt and pepper now, or wait till the end. Saute, stirring frequently, for several minutes. It will start smelling reaaaaaaaaally good pretty quickly. Add the parsley and spinach, stirring them in with the fennel, and then add the lemon juice, cooking till the greens wilt. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir in the nutritional yeast, then turn off the heat and taste for salt and pepper.
Combine the fennel mixture with the noodles and stir well to evenly distribute.