Fresh fennel and tomato are made for each other, and for pasta. Fresh fennel is absolutely delicious raw, thinly sliced in salads. Its crunchy and sweet with a aniseed flavour which pairs perfectly with a zingy lemon dressing and lots of black pepper. But when you roast fennel, its a completely different thing. The sweetness caramelises, the aniseed flavour is still there but it’s muted, and the texture is gorgeous, it softens in the best way, a little like roasted onion. Mix with the richness of roasted tomatoes, lots of garlic and olive oil and you’ll be in flavour-heaven! Fennel and tomato pasta is a simple, rustic classic, often served with sausages, but we love it with butterbeans.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tin butterbeans, drained
- a couple of handfuls of chopped fresh tomatoes
- 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
- extra virgin olive oil – to taste, we recommend at least 6 tbsp
- salt and pepper to taste
- cooked pasta to serve
- Turn your oven on to 200C. Chop up a fennel bulb and tumble into a wide roasting dish. Drizzle generously with 4 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands and place in the oven to roast for 20 minutes or so until softened.
- Remove the dish from the oven and add the tin of tomatoes, crushed garlic and the drained tin of butterbeans. Mix well.
- Scatter over the fresh chopped tomatoes, drizzle with 2 more tbsp olive oil and season again with salt and pepper. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes or so until rich and bubbling.
- Meanwhile cook your pasta. Then drain the pasta, stir through the sauce and enjoy!