I had a “favourite food” challenge for my gastropost mission a few weeks ago. Clearly this was a tough challenge, because I love my gut and I love food!! I sent a few different meals into the paper, and this is the one that was chosen! I must say, I am NOT a huge fan of ANYTHING that tastes like or resembles black liquorice… But this was absolutely amazing – the fennel adds a whole new level of flavour but it is also not over powering. I went for a second bowl!
Bacon and Fennel Penne
-3/4 lb catelli smart penne
-1 tsp salt
-Bacon, chopped. Amount of bacon is up to you- I LOVE bacon, so i used a whole pack of bacon…
-1/4 of a bulb of fennel, chopped
-1 onion, chopped
-5 cloves garlic, chopped
-6 leafs of basil, chopped
-1/4 bunch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
-1/2 tsp crushed chill flakes
-1 tbsp tomato paste (try looking for tomato paste in a tube @ your local grocery store.)
-28 oz of boiled and crushed tomatoes (you can used canned crushed tomatoes)
-1/2 c white wine
-1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in a half cup of warm water
-small handful of parmesan
-Fresh basil leaves for garnish
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add penne, boil until cooked through.
In a large non-stick frying pan, add your bacon and cook over medium high heat. Cook until slightly crisp. Then add in your fennel, onion, garlic, chill flakes, salt and pepper (for taste) Reduce heat to medium. Cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes or until fennel is soft. Add the tomato paste, basil, parsley, and whole tomatoes, Crush your tomatoes with a potato masher to incorporate nicely into the forming sauce. Stir in the wine. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Add the 1/2c of starch water to the pan. Turn heat to low, let it thicken up, stirring every so often. Add penne to the bacon fennel sauce, mix. Add your parmesan cheese and basil garnish, and serve!