Pasta al Finoccietto

Ingredients

  • 80 g fresh fennel bulb with some herbs still on the stalks (herbs plucked, chopped, and stalk cored and sliced thin)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts crushed or rough chop
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • About 100g anchovies in oil (two small cans)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons of Olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1–2 pepperoncini or other mediterranean pickled pepper, minced 
  • One box spaghetti or similar pasta
  • Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano: fine-grated
Start with this…

Directions

  1. Start a pot of water for the pasta
  2. In a pan over med heat, sauté garlic, pine nuts, and anchovies (with about half their oil until fragrant.
  3. Add a shot or two of liquid (water or light wine) to deglaze and reduce heat to med-low.
  4. Add tomatoes, peppers and fennel bulb, and simmer until soft
  5. Add the fennel herb and saffron and stir to combine
  6. Toss in al dente pasta, stir thoroughly and finish in pan (about 5ish minutes)
And end up with something like this.

Holy Shit, I wondered what people do with those big-ass fennel bulbs!

– You, probably

Notes

  • I prefer angel hair pasta for this dish; actually, I prefer it for most “spaghetti” dishes. In my opinion, the surface-area to pasta ratio, along with the more delicate mouth-feel make it superior in many cases.
    • When is the pasta done in the pan? If you break a piece in half and there is no white in the middle, it’s finished, take it off the heat.
  • If you should have, say, a wife or friend that doesn’t like the texture of cut tomatoes (and a little piece of you dies inside as you watch as they pick them out of the dish); substituting a tablespoon of tomato-paste to the anchovy stage and then deglazing with a shot or two of water or a sweet chardonnay would bring the same flavor, minus the texture.
  • This dish is simple on ingredients and heavy on flavor. A light Chard would make good company.
  • I know it’s instinct to add salt to a dish with tomatoes; the anchovies and Romano bring more than enough to the party. Taste it first.
  • I do like a bit of peppercorn medley though.
  • If you want more umami (Seriously? It has anchovies, Romano, and tomatoes!?) in any pasta dish, just remember you don’t have to cook pasta in plain water. Mixing in some chicken stock will turn the volume to 11 (but seriously, I would not recommend it for this dish; it’s just a general bit of knowledge for ya more than anything).

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