Pasta with Fennel, Kale, and Lemon

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Have I ever told you guys just how much I love pasta?  Actually, love isn’t a strong enough word to convey my feelings towards this food group.  Obsessed is better. Whole wheat pasta, fresh pasta (even chickpea pasta), dried pasta, you name it.  I don’t even want to know how many pounds of pasta I’ve consumed over the years. Actually, that thought is a bit frightening now that I think about it.  Let’s move on…

Pasta with Fennel, Kale & Lemon | bloggingoverthyme.com

It has been far too long since I shared a normal, everyday pasta recipe with you. This most likely has to do with the fact that the pasta dishes I cook most often are totally just thrown together.  I mean, sometimes we have a plan–i.e. tomato sauce, pesto, etc.  But I can’t even tell you the last time I’ve actually written anything down. I’m usually more concerned, at that point, with the eating part of the equation.

Pasta with Fennel, Kale & Lemon | bloggingoverthyme.com

In fact, the following sentence escapes my lips almost every time I’m asked to explain how I made some pasta dish or sauce… “You have to feel [insert ingredient here]‘s presence.” [Connor rolls his eyes every time I say that.] I know…I sound like an old lady.  But that’s sort of how I cook pasta dishes around here.

Pasta with Fennel, Kale & Lemon | bloggingoverthyme.com

And if you weren’t already aware, I’m also a total pasta topping snob. As in, if you don’t have the proper cheese to top pasta with (and by that, I mean Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Grana Padano at the very least..perhaps Romano or Pecorino, depending on the dish), don’t even bother to make it.  I told you I was a snob. Of course, that rule doesn’t apply with any type of seafood pasta.  Because to Italians, that’s blasphemy. [But I have caved and done this on more than one occasion. Testament to my love of cheese.]

Pasta with Fennel, Kale & Lemon | bloggingoverthyme.com

This dish combines sauteed onion, fennel, lacinato kale, lots of garlic, some red pepper flakes, and is finished with a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  It’s simple, but delicious. It is the kind of meal that can be made in the amount of time it takes to bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta.  That’s always nice, right?

Pasta with Fennel, Kale & Lemon | bloggingoverthyme.com

Once sauteed, the fennel begins to lose some of its stronger anise flavor and becomes much sweeter.  The kale adds a touch of bitterness–and the lemon juice brightens up the entire dish. I finished each plate with a drizzle of chili pepper oil (you can buy it or make your own–using the note in the recipe!), fennel fronds, and a large handful of cheese. More importantly, I wrote it all down this time.  Enjoy!

Pasta with Fennel, Kale, & Lemon

Yield: 3-4 Large Servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

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Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, (tough outer layer removed and fronds reserved) thinly sliced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely slivered
  • 2-3 large pinches red pepper flakes
  • 1 large bunch of lacinato kale, tough stems removed and roughly chopped
  • juice of one lemon
  • 10 ounces spinach fettuccine
  • salt
  • pepper

Garnish:

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • fennel fronds
  • chili pepper oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes, or until the onions are beginning to soften.
  3. Turn up the heat to medium, add the sliced fennel, and saute gently for an additional 6-8 minutes or until the fennel is tender and slightly caramelized. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another minute or two. Turn off the heat.
  4. When the fennel is almost cooked, add the pasta to the pan of boiling water and cook until al dente, adding the greens to the pasta pot about 2-3 minutes before the pasta is done cooking.
  5. Drain the pasta (reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water) and greens thoroughly and toss with the onion, fennel and kale mixture in the pan--adding pasta water if necessary. Add the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
  6. Drizzle each serving with chile oil, fennel fronds, and lots of grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese.

Chile oil is available at Whole Foods and other grocery stores--or make your own by lightly heating a cup of olive oil with one tablespoon red pepper flakes.

   

33 Responses to “Pasta with Fennel, Kale, and Lemon”

  1. #
    1
    Tieghan — November 12, 2013 @ 8:24 am

    This is kind of pasta perfection in my eyes. Simple, Cheesy and full of kale! My kind of pasta and I love the spinach fettuccine! Oh and I kind of cook pasta the same way, just using whatever I have (always good cheese!) and calling it a day!

    • Laura replied: — November 12th, 2013 @ 10:52 pm

      I’m pretty sure we like/love all of the same foods. Yah! I totally just throw pasta dishes together, but am trying to get better at writing stuff down, haha!

  2. #
    2
    Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg — November 12, 2013 @ 9:03 am

    I prefer past with veggies over red sauce, so this is perfect! Another great recipe from you.

    • Laura replied: — November 12th, 2013 @ 10:46 pm

      Aww, thanks so much Norma!

  3. #
    3
    Erika — November 12, 2013 @ 9:23 am

    Stop it!! There are so many good things happening on that plate of pasta. All those flavors with that drizzle of chili pepper oil, has to make for one incredible dish ..

    • Laura replied: — November 12th, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

      Haha! Why thank you! :)

  4. #
    4
    pippa@popovertopippas — November 12, 2013 @ 9:25 am

    i will need to make this soon, maybe even for mom and dad if I could on Thursday night!

    • Laura replied: — November 12th, 2013 @ 10:39 pm

      Cool! Let me know if you try it!

  5. #
    5
    Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps — November 12, 2013 @ 10:09 am

    What a perfect fall pasta! I’m a cheese snob too, I will gladly fork over $18 or $19 a pound for good quality Parmigiano Reggiano and not even blink an eye. Sooo worth it!

    • Laura replied: — November 12th, 2013 @ 10:38 pm

      I have a Costco membership literally just to buy (slightly cheaper) Parmesan cheese…it’s quite sad. I buy blocks at a time! :)

  6. #
    6
    Natalie @ Tastes Lovely — November 12, 2013 @ 11:14 am

    Laura, this looks delicious! High five for pasta, let’s eat all the carbs! I love the idea of combining fenel and kale, yum. These pictures are beautiful.

    • Laura replied: — November 12th, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

      Yay!! More carbs, please ;)

  7. #
    7
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — November 12, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

    ohmygosh, ohmygosh, ohmygosh…this pasta dish has my name alllll over it! I have a huge soft spot for fennel and kale. This is a perfect weeknight dinner!

    • Laura replied: — November 12th, 2013 @ 10:35 pm

      Your enthusiasm is contagious! :) Seriously, it put a smile on my face. Thanks Kelli! Glad you like this one!

  8. #
    8
    Manhattan Image and Style — November 12, 2013 @ 4:55 pm

    Perfection! I love your pictures and your recipe! :)

    Feel free to visit my blog as well if you wish! <3

    Diana

    http://www.ManhattanImageandStyle.com

    New Blog Post: 7 Ways to Spice Up Your Look

    • Laura replied: — November 12th, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

      Thank you Diana! Great blog too :) Thanks for visiting!

  9. #
    9
    cindy — November 13, 2013 @ 10:03 am

    I LOVE pasta and fettuccine is one of my favorite shapes/types…also, I’m obsessed with fennel! This sounds perfect.

    • Laura replied: — November 14th, 2013 @ 10:09 am

      Fettuccine is one of my favorites too! I used a dried egg one for this, but that was purely for aesthetic reasons ;) Thanks for visiting, Cindy!

  10. #
    10
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — November 13, 2013 @ 7:51 pm

    First your photos are stunning! Annnnd this pasta!? I love everything about it!

    • Laura replied: — November 14th, 2013 @ 10:08 am

      Thank you SO much Laurie! Means a lot :) And thanks for visiting! (Love your blog.)

  11. #
    11
    Joanne — November 14, 2013 @ 7:41 am

    Can we be pasta snobs together? It is Parm-Regg on my pasta or BUST. And by BUST I mean, I refuse to be friends with anyone who uses any substitute. Amen to that! And beautiful flavors in this pasta!!

    • Laura replied: — November 14th, 2013 @ 10:08 am

      Yes, please!!! I laughed so hard at your comment. I totally agree, it’s awful but if I see THAT green can in your fridge, we can’t be friends. It just won’t work.

  12. #
    12
    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl — November 14, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

    Can’t wait to have this for dinner tonight. The garden produced so much kale this year so it’s great to find yummy recipes like this.

    • Laura replied: — November 14th, 2013 @ 10:29 pm

      I wish I had a garden full of kale!! Report back, please :)

  13. #
    13
    Two Red Bowls — November 14, 2013 @ 6:10 pm

    Oh my goodness, these photos are so gorgeous and your pasta looks to-die-for. I’m with you — TOTALLY obsessed with pasta of any kind!!! :) So glad I found your blog just now and excited to keep following you!

    • Laura replied: — November 14th, 2013 @ 10:32 pm

      Thank you SO much! I’ve been checking out your blog and it’s great!! So happy you’re here :)

  14. #
    14
    anna @ annamayeveryday — November 15, 2013 @ 11:57 am

    This looks really fresh and delicious, great flavour combination!

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