Spaghetti al Finocchio (Fennel)

40 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


  • 23 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 23 fennel bulbs, rinsed, bottoms, tops, and tough outer layers removed, thinly sliced, length-wise
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 anchovy filets – optional
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs – optional
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti or bucatini
  • Grated Parmigiano – optional

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  1. In a large skillet, over medium heat sauté the garlic in the olive oil until golden. Add the fennel and cook for 5 minutes. Add a cup of water and cook over low heat, covered, for about 15-20 minutes tender. Remove the lid and raise the heat. Sauté until the excess water evaporates and the fennel turns golden. Keep warm.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. In alternate preparation – which adds salty flavor and texture – add a tablespoon of olive oil and a clove of sliced garlic to another skillet over medium heat. When the garlic turns golden, add the anchovies, and heat together, stirring occasionally, until dissolved. Add the breadcrumbs and cook together for a minute or two until slightly toasted.
  4. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (about 2 minutes less than the package directions), drain, and add to the skillet with the fennel. Cook together for a minute. If opting for the anchovies and breadcrumbs, mix in at this point.
  5. Serve immediately. If not using the anchovy mixture, sprinkle with Parmigiano.

Ed's Review

Now that the eternally long wait is finally over, I can rest easy knowing that England has a new future king. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the royals; my tax dollars don’t pay for them and besides, they keep the news so fresh and exciting!  What a fortunate coincidence, therefore, that this recipe is a perfect baby gift for both Kate and Will, as well as new parents everywhere.

You see, it’s a little known fact, but fennel is thought to be a galactagogue. That’s right, a galactagogue! In other words, fennel helps breastfeeding mothers improve their milk supply. You’re welcome, Kate!  And Will, as every man knows, hallucinogens are an important part of any new father’s diet. Luckily, fennel is a key ingredient in absinthe, the once banned psychotropic liquor. You’ll need plenty of absinthe to get you through that entire nursing period.

Tanti auguri to you both!

Buon Appetito!
Ed Garrubbo

2 thoughts on “Spaghetti al Finocchio (Fennel)”

  1. Sounds yummy! I love fennel.

    By the way, do you know of any place to purchase Alchermes on line as it isn’t available in U.S. that I can find.

    Thank you.


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