December 6, 2007

Waste Not, Want Not

It's inevitable. No matter how carefully I plan my grocery shopping, I still find spoiled produce in the back of the fridge veggie drawer week after week. This drives me batty! Not only do I end up wasting perfectly good food, but I may as well be throwing money right into the garbage can. In an attempt to avoid both scenarios, I've adopted the philosophy that I cannot purchase any new produce if I still have some left in my fridge.

So, what does this have to do with anything? When making Portobello Stuffed Mushrooms earlier this week, I somehow bought twice as much fennel as I needed. Ever since, I have been eyeing the leftover fennel in the fridge, trying to figure out what the heck to do with it. I rarely cook with it, so was kind of at a loss. I scoured the internet for culinary inspiration and finally found something that seemed to meet my needs, penne pasta with sausage and fennel. Sounds tasty to me. The recipe took a little longer than I would have liked for a weeknight, but it turned out well and provided enough leftovers for at least one more meal for two.

Penne with Sausage and Fennel
from Food & Wine

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 small celery rib, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped sage
One 35-ounce can peeled Italian tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound Italian sweet sausage, pricked with a fork
1 large fennel bulb (1 1/2 pounds)--halved lengthwise, cored and sliced crosswise, fronds chopped
1 pound penne
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion, carrot, celery and sage and cook over low heat until the onion is softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and 1 tablespoon of basil and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  2. In a medium saucepan of water, simmer the sausage over moderate heat until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Drain, cut into 1/4-inch rounds and add to the tomato sauce.
  3. Cook the fennel slices in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to the tomato sauce. Add the penne to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain and return to the pot. Add the tomato sauce, parsley and the fennel fronds and toss. Add the 2 tablespoons of cheese and the remaining 1 tablespoon of basil and toss again. Transfer the pasta to a warmed bowl and serve with the additional cheese.

Updated 3/2/2008
8 servings
Weight Watchers = 8 points per serving


Anonymous said...

Mmmm! Looks so good. I love your huge bowl. So pretty!

Candace said...

This look delish! I love fennel!

Deborah said...

I should adopt your rule - I end up throwing out things too often that I have forgotten were in the fridge. This looks like the perfect meal to use up your fennel!