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fennel and gorgonzola fettuccine

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Fennel and Gorgonzola fettuccine

I used to be vegetarian a long time ago, lasted about a week (that was also when I gave up coffee, alcohol and sweets and after a few days decided life wasn’t worth living) – frailty, thy name is Millie.

So I’m not one but I’ve fed a few and it’s really easy to adapt a lot of recipes to make them suitable. Admittedly, steak excluded. But I do often wonder whether vegetarians who enjoy food and cooking and God knows most of them do as it’s not about deprivation but lifestyle, look up all sorts of recipes, not necessarily labelled ‘veggie’ and decide ‘that looks good, I’ll just swap the beef/bacon/fish for more veg or potatoes or rice’. I hope that is the case and so I’m tagging this recipe as veggie as well. Here's my note to vegetarians then: this will work perfectly fine for you, just ignore the bacon and all the references thereof.

Pasta dish then. I love pasta. I could eat pasta every day, if it only didn’t contain carbs. Since it does (hell, what other reason it tastes so good?), it’s an occasional treat. Not so in the olden days when I was a student, skinny and skint, I’d often throw some cooked plain pasta into a pan with butter, fry it up till crispy underneath and stick whatever cheese I had (could afford) on it. Disgustingly yummy.

But now for a bit more sophisticated treat: this is one of the best pasta dishes, fennel gets on with gorgonzola like a house on fire and bacon (did I just say bacon? naah) adds a bit of saltiness.

  • INGREDIENTS
  • about 80-90g dry pasta per person – here fettuccine, my personal favourite
  • one large fennel bulb, sliced thinly
  • a knob of butter
  • salt and pepper
  • about 100g gorgonzola cheese, or half and half gorgonzola and camembert or brie with most of the rind cut off
  • salt for boiling pasta
  • three rashers of streaky bacon, diced (optional)
  • plenty of grated parmesan, naturalmente

Fettuccine, fennel, cheese

METHOD
Put a large pan of salty water on to boil. In a large skillet that can be covered with a lid (I use wok, fusion style) melt a little butter and add half the sliced fennel. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook on low heat until translucent and really soft. Add the cheese and let it melt in. In a small skillet cook the bacon but don’t let it go too crisp. Fish it out with a slotted spoon and keep aside. Turn up the heat under the bacon fat (vegetarian version – no bacon, just a little more butter) and fry the remaining fennel quickly, just so it colours a little (it needs to retain the bite), then turn it off. 

Cooking fennel fettuccine

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, then scoop it out of the pan with tongs (good for fettuccine) or a slotted spoon and add to the fennel and cheese sauce. Throw in the crisp fried fennel slices, the bacon (or not) and mix well, still on low heat.

Serve immediately with plenty of parmesan and a few chopped green fennel fronds, to make it pretty.


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