the bite of winter is finally in the air, giving me the excuse to have my oven on all day braising away. as much as i love the ease of bbqing, i’m ready for luscious, warming, time consuming meals. it’s time for braising meats, hearty soups, and cheesy baked pastas (and hitting the gym double time to work all of it off).
this recipe for baked fennel in cream comes from one of my all time favourite chefs, gabrielle hamilton, who owns prune in nyc (which has been at the top of my to-visit restaurants list for ages now! 🙁 ). it’s basically a gratin; so simple to make but rich and satisfying. fennel gets braised in cream, black pepper and parmesan until it’s just tender, with a delicious crispy crust forming on the top. served over warmed cannellini beans with crusty bread it makes a perfect meal. i added a touch of lemon zest and parsley on top before serving, to brighten it up slightly, and actually ate the leftovers the very next day, next day, gently warmed up and mixed in with cooked cavatelli noodles, which ended up being one of my favourite pastas i’ve ever eaten.
what better way to eat your vegetables than smothered in cream and cheese? *pig emoji*
fennel baked in cream
*serves 4 as meal, 6 as a side dish
2 large fennel, fronds and stalks removed and cut into 1 inch wedges
1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cup grated parmesan
4 tablespoons salted butter
freshly ground salt & peppa
1 teaspoon lemon zest and chopped parsley, for serving
heat oven to 425 degrees. toss together fennel, cream, 1 cup of parmesan salt and pepper in a large bowl. transfer to a baking dish and dot with butter.
cover with foil and bake for 45-50 minutes. remove foil and sprinkle remainder of cheese over top. bake for another 20 minutes until cheese is golden. heat canned cannellini beans in a skillet until just warmed through. serve fennel wedges over top of warmed beans, spoon additional cream over top as desired and sprinkle with zest and parsley. eat with plenty of crusty bread!