I must admit that my knowledge of fennel is fairly limited and I get the impression it’s a very underused vegetable. We currently use it in one other dish which happens to be a salad that also incorporates sausages and new potatoes, but I’m currently looking for culinary ways to utilise it more often in the future.
One thing is certain – fennel loves salami. They work in perfect harmony with each other. The first time I tried this recipe I wasn’t sure what to expect from the fennel in terms of texture or taste, but it goes very nicely with a serving of pasta and the aniseed comes through as a very subtle undertone.
It’s one of Jamie Oliver’s clever creations and can be found in his book ‘Happy Days with the Naked Chef’ (incidentally the first of Jamie’s books that I owned – back then I didn’t realise we would be cooking this up quite so frequently) or online at JamieOliver.com, where the original ingredients and cooking method can be viewed. Please note that Jamie serves it with spaghetti.
The good news is that this will cost you under a fiver to make. We usually order our salami from the delicatessen which saves buying a whole pack – 100g medium sliced is all you need to serve two. For our version you will also need extra virgin olive oil, two cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of fennel seeds, a bulb of fennel, a tin of plum tomatoes, 260g dried cavatappi, seasoning and a handful of grated cheese. Optional extras are stale breadcrumbs, a sprig of fresh rosemary and a dried chilli.
It’s a highly pleasing plate of pasta and anyone who likes their meat will surely enjoy getting stuck in. We have made it with spaghetti and linguine previously which are also very favourable for soaking up the sauce. The fennel adds a freshness in contrast to the overall meatiness making it very well balanced.
Right, I’m off to look for some more fennel recipes…