Creamy Fennel Pasta

Serves 2

1/2 lb. fettuccine

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon chili flakes 

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cream

grated Parmesan, pecorino, or asiago cheese for garnishing

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until tender to the bite (al dente), reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid before you drain the noodles.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large frying or sauté pan over medium high heat.  Sauté the fennel and onion for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add chili flakes and stir to combine. Add cream, cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook until fennel is tender, up to 5 minutes.

Add drained pasta and stir to combine. You may need to add the reserved pasta liquid if sauce becomes too thick. Serve immediately topped with Parmesan, Pecorino o Asiago cheese.

The Culinary Chase's Note: Fennel has a sweet anise flavored when prepared like above and the chili adds a bit of heat to the dish. Store fresh fennel in the refrigerator crisper, where it should keep fresh for about four days. However, it is best to consume fennel soon after purchase since as it ages, it tends to gradually lose its flavor.