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Spicy Fennel Spaghetti

February 16, 2010

After a typical heavy winter dish on Friday night, pasta sounded appealing on Saturday night and a little lighter than

spicy fennel spaghetti

what I had planned for the next day’s Valentine’s dinner.  I opted for this spicy fennel spaghetti from Bon Appetit, which has ingredients easy to find in the winter but feels a little on the lighter side compared to some winter dishes.  I added some shrimp sauteed in garlic and olive oil, which really went well with the pasta.  This is a great make ahead dish- you can make the pasta sauce the night before, then just toss it with the pasta and cheese and serve.  I added some tomatoes to add a little color and give it a little more body.  Serves 4.


1 T olive oil

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 red jalapenos, seeded and finely diced, or 1 t red pepper flakes

2 bulbs fennel, tops trimmed and bulbs cut into thin wedges with some core attached

1 1/2 c vegetable or chicken stock

4 T fresh Italian parsley, chopped

2 T fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 t crushed fennel seeds

5 plum tomatoes, cut into large dice

1 lb spaghetti or linguine fini, cooked al dente

1 1/2 c grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Shrimp (optional)

1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined

1 T olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely sliced


Heat tablespoon of oil in a large skillet.  Add garlic and peppers and saute for 1 minute.  Add fennel slices and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add broth, 2 T parsley, lemon juice and fennel seeds and bring  to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the fennel is very tender (mine took more like 30 minutes).  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, cook pasta, saving 1 c of the pasta cooking water.  Drain and return pasta to the pot.

For the shrimp: heat 1 T olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add sliced garlic and shrimp and saute until shrimp is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Return the fennel to the stove and uncover.  Turn heat up to high and cook until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.  Add tomatoes and cook until heated through.  Add the fennel tomato mixutre to the pasta, along with 1/2 c cheese and toss to combine, adding pasta water to moisten, if necessary.  Divide among plates and top with remaining parsley and cheese.  Top with shrimp and serve.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Amanda permalink
    February 18, 2010 10:50 pm

    This was delicious! I was a little worried that I had no idea what I was doing because I’d never cooked with fennel before, and was also afraid it would taste like licorice, but it turned out yummers and had a pleasantly fresh taste with no trace of licorice.
    Also, this is my new favorite way to sautee shrimp. I’ll be doing it from now on!

  2. sharon permalink
    March 17, 2010 8:09 pm

    Another hit! We both enjoyed this one. Thanks!!

  3. Haley Coplen permalink
    March 30, 2010 6:59 pm

    I made this last night and LOVED it! I felt like I couldn’t stop eating it. I’m pretty sure I overcooked the fennel because it was brown-er than your picture, but I thought that even tasted yummy and caramalized-y. A+++ Will definitely do business with this pasta again…

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