Thursday, January 23, 2014
Creamy roasted fennel and noodles
Most often I've taken the results and worked them into a risotto, but this time I didn't really want risotto, so ... what else can I do with it? How about a pasta topping? And wait ... let's not just throw roast fennel and oil on spaghetti, or better yet, some Amish Kluski noodles! Then, how about a thick, "creamy" sauce to make it more consoling for a wintry night? Done and done.
It didn't take long.
Per the usual process, I cut off the fronds and cut out the core of the fennel bulb and cut the rest into chunks. I did the same with a smallish onion and smashed a few garlic cloves. Put them in a black iron skillet with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper, brown them briefly on the stove top and then pop the skillet into a 400F oven for 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
While the fennel was roasting, I started boiling salted water for 4 ounces of noodles (2 ounces per person un-cooked is our usual ration for one); and made a quick bechamel sauce: Whisk up a roux of 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and 1 ounce (2 tbsp) butter, and before it starts to color, whisk in, gradually, 8 ounces milk (or veg milk if you like). Once it's thickened, season with salt and pepper (and, optionally, because I have some and it works so well in this dish, 1 tsp fennel pollen), and keep it on very low.
Drain the noodles. Stir the roasted fennel, onions and garlic and noodles into the sauce; mix well and serve.
A little grated Parmigiano-Reggiano wouldn't have hurt it any, although in this case I was very happy with the clean, pure roasted fennel flavor unadorned.