Count Broccula's veg-head ramblings

My home experiments with vegetarian cooking. Focused on seasonal produce with some vegan stuff thrown in for good measure. I may include random other food-related stuff as I please.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Linguine with Grilled Fennel and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

2 large fennel bulbs, stalks and fronds discarded, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices through the base.
4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
10 sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained and cut into think strips
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 pound linguine
parmesan cheese

1 Light the grill. Lay the fennel slices on a large baking sheet, brush with 2 Tbs of the oil, and season generously with the salt and pepper.
2. Grill the fennel, carefully turning the pieces once, over a medium hot fire until marked by dark stripes and tender, about 12 minutes.
3. Briefly cool the grilled fennel. Cut the fennel into thin strips. In a large bowl, toss the fennel with the sun-dried tomatoes, basil, remaining 2 Tbs oil, and vinegar. Adjust the seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste. The vegetables can be covered and set aside for up to 1 hour.
4. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 Tbs salt and the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta. Toss the pasta with the grilled fennerl sauce, moistening the pasta with the reserved cooking water as needed. Serve immediately, passing the grated cheese at the table.

That's Jack Bishop's recipe. As usual, I changed some stuff. First, I used sun-dried tomatoes that were dry, not packed in oil. I rehydrated them by putting them in a bowl and covering them with boiling water. Incidentally, I also used this water later instead of the pasta water to wet the pasta.

I about halved the recipe, too, although I used more sun-dried tomatoes, because I just like them. Also, "discard the stalks adn fronds"?!?!? Are you nuts? I minced some of the fronds and added them, then saved the rest for use in salads later this week.

Here's a biggie -- I didn't feel like lighting up the grill, so I used my grill pan. You could also broil or roast these with much the same effect.

I went light on the olive oil, (watching my weight, you know) but after tasting it I actually added a little more. It needed it.

What would I do differently next time? To be honest, I'm not sure I'd make this again. It wasn't super fennel-y, and I actually like fennel and didn't want to disguise its flavor. Also, it wasn't much of a sauce -- it was more like little chunks of veggies that I had to dig out from the bottom of the bowl. The pasta with greens and feta from a few weeks ago was much better.

One thing that ruled -- the bread. My Boompah gave me half a loaf of wonderful French bread and after I took the fennel off the grill, I grilled two slices of bread, and it was delicious.


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