Friday, March 11, 2011

Sea Shell Pasta with Lemony Fennel, Beans and Greens

Whether you observe Lent or you are just trying to eat a few meatless meals each week, this dish will surely hit the spot! 

I am not so crazy about raw fennel, but I love it cooked; especially when it’s served with pasta.   You will love this easy dish!


Sea Shell Pasta with Lemony Fennel, Beans and Greens

½ lb. Multi Grain Sea Shell Pasta, cooked per package directions
1 tablespoon Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling at the table
One Fennel Bulb, sliced thin
Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper, more or less to taste
Coarse Sea Salt, to taste
1 -15 oz can Cannellini Beans, drained and washed
5 oz Fresh Spinach, washed and stemmed
¼ teaspoon freshly grated Nutmeg
Juice of one medium Lemon
Zest of half a medium Lemon
Splash of dry White Wine
Shaved Pecorino Romano Cheese, to taste
Fennel Frawns for garnish, optional

While pasta is cooking, slice fennel bulb. 


Wash and trim spinach.




Add olive oil to medium skillet.  Add sliced fennel.  Sauté fennel until soft, about five minutes.


Add crushed red pepper, salt and beans.  Cook three or four more minutes. 


Add spinach in batches.  Wilt into pan.  Add a little of the nutmeg on top of each batch.


When spinach is just about wilted, add in lemon, zest and wine.  

Add pasta (if you need to add a little starch to the sauce, you can also add a little of the starchy cooking water from the pasta). 

Plate and top with shaved cheese and frawns, if using.   Drizzle with olive oil at the table, to taste.


BONUS IDEA:

Prefer a red-sauced pasta?  Try adding cooked fennel, a little cooked sweet onion and fennel frawns to your ricotta, mozzarella and egg mixture. 



Stuff large pasta shells for a different twist on this Italian favorite!


Next week is ALL about seafood!   Have a safe and fun weekend, everyone!  Cheers!
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