Pasta with roasted fennel and tomatoes

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Ingredients for 4:

  • 2 large fennel bulbs, tops trimmed, then halved
  • 3 tablespoons ULIVA Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 cups tomatoes (see note)
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano (or 3 teaspoons fresh, shredded)
  • 12 ounces papardelle or penne pasta
  • Freshly grated 24 month Parmesan Reggiano cheese


Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the fennel halves, cut side down, in a greased ovenproof dish into which they fit snugly. Drizzle with 1 ½ tablespoons of the ULIVA Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Roast them until light brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from baking dish to cutting board. Allow to cool, then cut into ½ pieces.

Heat the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons of ULIVA Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a wok or large, heavy skillet. Add the onions and saute for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to cook until they are tender, about 4 more minutes.

Add the tomatoes with juice and the oregano. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer until the mixture is reduced to a sauce consistency, which should be 6 to 8 minutes. Add the fennel and simmer about 5 more minutes.

Season with freshly ground pepper and a bit of salt, to taste.

While the sauce is cooking, bring 5 quarts (2 ½ liters) of water to a boil; add 1-2 tablespoons of salt and bring back to a boil; then add the pasta. Cook pasta until it is tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid.

Combine the pasta with the sauce, tossing to cover, and add the cooking liquid if needed. Test for seasoning, then transfer to warm serving bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan Reggiano cheese and serve at once.

Note re tomatoes: I like to use a combination of Roma and cherry tomatoes to make up the 4 cups. If they are quite ripe, peel them a bit with your fingers. Using fresh tomatoes, you may need to add a bit of passata or tomato juice to achieve the consistency you want.