Here is a perfect vegetarian pasta dish for these last days of summer – it’s still warm and sunny during the day, where I live that is – and the evenings aren’t yet cold enough to have me craving a hearty beef stew (I’ll post the best one ever in a few weeks).
On the other hand I don’t quite understand the newsflash that ‘Fall begins at 3.05AM on Friday’. Says who and more importantly, why? As if the networks need to warn us about something. Surely we turn the heat on when we’re cold, not just because it’s the first day of fall and whereas I understand the autumnal equinox thing, can’t we just go by what the weather is doing? Quite frankly, it’s been fall/autumn in the UK since July but despite a little sprinkle of white stuff up high, summer is hanging on in Colorado.
In any event, this recipe is good whatever the season.
It combines caramelized fennel, black olives, lemon and lovely creamy Taleggio cheese, resulting in a fresh-tasting pasta dish with some substance and an interesting texture. You can always add more cheese but I think it’s delicious as is and it’s very easy to assemble.
PENNE with SAUTÉED FENNEL, BLACK OLIVES & TALEGGIO
3 heads of fennel
1 oz / 28g butter
8 oz / 227g sliced black olives, rinsed and drained
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons of extra-v olive oil
6 oz / 170g of Taleggio cheese, sliced
12 oz / 340g of penne pasta
½ teaspoon of dried oregano
Sea salt, freshly ground pepper
Quarter the fennel and trim off long stalks and any untidy outer leaves. Cut out the core and slice thinly, lengthwise.
Melt the butter in a large pan, add the fennel slices and season with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sauté gently until the fennel is golden and tender – approx 8-10 minutes.
Start cooking the pasta according to instructions. Turn on the grill/broiler.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain quickly and return to the pan. Add the olives, lemon zest and fennel and mix well.
Tip it all into a shallow ovenproof dish and drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice over. Lay the sliced Taleggio on top, scatter with the oregano and another grind of black pepper.
Cook under the grill/broiler (not too close to the heat) for approx 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and is starting to turn golden.
Serve immediately with a lightly dressed mixed leaf and tomato salad.
Coming next week: Edibletcetera will post a fabulous all-in-one, honey roasted rosemary chicken and vegetable dish; perfect for busy people who want some delicious comfort food that takes only a few minutes to prep.