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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

penne with fennel and chives

whole-wheat-penne-1 weekend herb blogging fennel easy recipe pasta penne

Fennel seeds were an integral part of my mom's cooking when I was growing up. We had toasted fennel seeds mixed with little "rice" candy after a sumptuous and spicy meal to act a a digestive aid and a breath freshener. Even these days, I chew a spoonful of lightly toasted fennel seeds after meals, and have gotten D hooked on it as well.

And Fennel is my post for Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging hosted this week by Astrid from Paulchen's Food Blog.

whole-wheat-penne-1 weekend herb blogging fennel easy recipe pasta penne
Fennel in my garden

Fennel has a very subtle, distinct aroma and flavor - close to licorice and aniseed - that goes well in Indian cuisine. Common Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare) plant resembles Dill - with spiky-thin yet soft and feathery leaves. Almost all parts of the perennial fennel plant are edible - including the leaves, the stalks, the seeds.

It is easy to grow in kitchen/herb garden where there is plenty of sun and once established they are quite sturdy; and being perennial, they come back each year to cast their magical spell :-)

Fennel leaves can be used in bouquet garnis, in salads, minced and infused in aromatic cooking oils, chopped up stirred into salad dressings and vinaigrettes, or even made into herbal tea. I have used weak tea made with dry fennel seeds or fresh fennel leaves as a digestive tonic for my baby anytime it feels like she might be having a tummy issue like gas or indigestion.

The simple pasta recipe here uses fresh fennel leaves and chive flowers as seasoning.

whole wheat penne pasta, cooked per package directions, rinsed and drained
spring onions, sliced into 2-inch pieces
steamed broccoli florets
pepperoncini, sliced (optional)
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped fennel leaves
1 garlic clove finely minced
2 Tbsp finely chopped chives
3-4 chive fresh flowers, if handy
1 Tbsp sweet paprika
salt to taste
optional: toasted pine nuts for garnish


Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the fennel leaves, garlic and chives, sauté till aromatic; add the rest of the ingredients, stir well, adjust flavors to taste.

Serve cool or at room temperature garnished with fennel leaves and chive flowers.

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  • At 4:59 PM, Blogger Kalyn said…

    I just love fennel seeds in things like Italian Sausage, so I'm guessing I'd like this very much. I'm jealous you have fennel in your garden. I wonder if it will grow here? Need to check on that!

  • At 4:59 AM, Blogger Asha said…

    Beautiful dish.I have yet to try Fennel bulbs in the dishes.Fennel seeds are of course is a integral part of Indian cooking:))

  • At 6:20 AM, Blogger Sukanya Ramkumar said…

    This is a comfort recipe....U grow fennel in ur garden...Great!...

  • At 5:54 PM, Blogger TheCooker said…

    haven't tried cooking with fennel. now i'm tempted to.

  • At 6:32 PM, Blogger Christa said…

    I love the taste of fennel and fennel seeds. This dish sounds delightful.

  • At 4:06 AM, Anonymous John said…

    I use fennel especialy when fresh, it is a great addition to fish and chicken dishes. Now I will have to try it in my herbal tea. Thanks

  • At 9:26 AM, Blogger Sheela said…

    Kalyn, thank you for taking the time to drop by...I hope you have success growing fennel in your garden, weather out here in PacificNW is pretty conducive for most of my herbs...

    Asha, a veteran like you, i am really glad you take the time to stop by and leave comments.

    Sukanya, thanks, you know, easy-come, easy-go, sometimes Mother Nature helps, sometimes, she just decides not to:-)

    thecooker, thanks for stoping by, and I hope to stop by and read your fennel recipes soon

    Christa, welcome, I am glad to note you like fennel - sometimes fennel flavor can be a bit off-putting, like biting into a piece of cardomom for someone who is new to it

    john, welcome, and I hope you enjoy your tea - i was amazed when my mom said infants can have weak fennel tea...


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