Fennel is used extensively in northern Italy. It is a very versatile vegetable, which is good cooked or used raw in salads.
2 fennel bulbs
2 celery sticks, cut into 7.5 cm/3 inch sticks
6 sun-dried tomatoes, halved
200 g (7 oz) passata (tomato paste)
2 tsp dried oregano
50 g (1 3/4 oz) Parmesan cheese, grated
1. Using a sharp knife, trim the fennel, discarding any tough outer leaves, and cut the bulb into quarters.
2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the fennel and celery and cook for 8 - 10 minutes or until just tender. Remove with a perforated spoon and drain.
3. Place the fennel pieces, celery and sun-dried tomatoes in a large ovenproof dish.
4. Mix the passata (tomato paste) and oregano and pour the mixture over the fennel.
5. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes or until hot. Serve as a starter with bread or as a vegetable side dish.
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