Five Spring Recipes: Corkscrew Pasta with Fennel

Serves 4

Fennel adds verve–and a taste of Mediterranean sunshine–to this meatless winter dish. The fennel mellows with cooking.

• 2 tablespoons raisins
• 3/4 cup dry white wine
• 2 cups canned plum tomatoes
• 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, ­divided
• 1 cup minced onion
• 4 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 cup pine nuts
• 2 or 3 bay leaves
• 1/2 to 1 cup minced fresh fennel tops (leafy portions and thin stems)
• 1 pound dried fusilli or other corkscrew pasta

1. Steep the raisins in the wine until soft. In a blender, puree them with the tomatoes and set aside.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Sauté the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the pine nuts and sauté for 1 minute, then add the tomato mixture and bay leaves and heat to simmering.

3. Bring a big pot of water to the boil and stir in the pasta. Stir the fennel into the sauce.

4. Boil the pasta for 7 to 11 minutes or al dente. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Toss it with the remaining tablespoons of oil.

5. Remove the bay leaves and toss the sauce with the pasta.

6. Serve ­immediately.

Click here for the original article, Five Spring Recipes.

Writer and chef Cornelia Carlson tends an herb garden in Tucson, Arizona.

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