Our pasta with Romanesco and fennel is a dinner that will delight you any day of the week. It’s easy to prepare and loaded with complex umami flavors thanks to our holy trinity of garlic, anchovies, and capers.Jump to Recipe
This pasta is so easy to make. I started with a base:
I finely chop those ingredients in a food processor and add crushed red pepper. Be sure to use a teaspoon of the anchovy oil for maximum umami!
I begin the pasta by frying up my vegetables:
- Fennel bulb
- Cherry tomatoes
Next, I simply add the umami base to the browned vegetables with a bit of vegetable stock and let everything hang out for awhile. If you want to add a bit of cream, you can but it’s not necessary. I used angel hair pasta for this recipe because of how quickly it cooks up, but any pasta will work here!
Making substitutions for this pasta with Romanesco recipe is a breeze. If you don’t have Romanesco and fennel, you can substitute with a mix of cauliflower, broccoli, and celery. If you don’t have cherry tomatoes, simply use a can of diced or whole peeled tomatoes.
This pasta recipe combines 3 of my favorite things: pasta with fennel, fresh Romanesco, and capers. With only a handful of other ingredients, this dinner is a big win with not a lot of work.
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Pasta with Romanesco and Fennel
- Stock pot
- Wide pot
- 1 pound angel hair pasta
- 1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil for frying
- 1 teaspoon anchovy oil
- 1/4 cup capers drained
- 8 cloves garlic peeled
- 6 anchovies in oil
- 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
- 1 fennel bulb cored and sliced, fronds reserved
- 1 head Romanesco cored and cut into florets
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken stock plus more, if needed
- 1/4 cup heavy cream optional
- 1 lemon juiced
- Salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste
Start the Pasta Water:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Prepare the Sauce Base:
- In a food processor, combine the anchovies, anchovy oil, garlic, and capers. Pulse until finely minced. Set aside.
Cook the Vegetables:
- In a wide pot, heat the neutral cooking oil over medium heat until hot. Add the onion and fennel and cook for 6-7 minutes until beginning to brown and soften.
- Add the Romanesco and cook an additional 6-7 minutes or until it begins to darken a bit around the edges. Taste and season all the vegetables with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.
- Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in the sauce base from the food processor and toss to coat. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
Simmer the Sauce:
- Pour the chicken stock into the wide pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 4-5 minutes until reduced slightly. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream, if using. Taste and season again to your preferences.
Cook the Pasta:
- While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta.
Finish the Pasta:
- Add the pasta cooking water and the lemon juice to the sauce and add the cooked pasta and toss to coat until glossy. Season again, if necessary. Turn off the heat.
- Divide the pasta between bowls and garnish with the reserved fennel fronds. Enjoy!