Monday, July 12, 2010

Fennel, I'd love to get to know you better

There's something about fennel that seems to just scream, "fancy!" It's fragrant and dainty and my parents never fed it to me, which I guess just adds to the mystique. But what should I do with it now that I've brought it home from the store?

Here's what: put it in everything! Especially pasta salad.
I know, I know, everyone is so sick of pasta salad (or is it just me?) Well, no more!

Pasta salad with fennel (Or maybe I should call it, fennel salad with pasta.)

Cook and drain one pound of whole wheat rotini. Toss with just enough olive oil to coat while its still hot--this will prevent sticking.
Chop 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves (Got more? Good, add them too!) Add this to the pasta.
Cut 2-3 large ripe tomatoes and add to the pasta.
Finely chop a quarter of a vidalia onion and add this to the pasta, too.
In a small bowl, gently smush 1 can of white beans with the back of a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste, and a nice healthy squeeze of lemon juice. Add 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast if you have some lying around.
Wash and thinly slice 1/3 of a bulb of fennel, and add to the salad. If it has the little leaves on it still, you can roughly chop those and add them, too.
(If you feel like it, you could roast the fennel before putting it in here, but it was way too hot to turn on the oven when I made this!)
Add the beans to the pasta and toss everything around.
It's best if you let it sit overnight so the flavors really have a chance to meld. Take it out of the fridge about 40 minutes before serving so that it can come to room temperature.
EAT IT! You can serve it over salad greens or next to just about anything.