This simple fennel pasta combines sautéed onion, fennel, lacinato kale, lots of garlic, some red pepper flakes, and is finished with a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice. It is the kind of dinner that can be made in time it takes to bring a large pot of water to a boil.
2-3tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil
½large red onionthinly sliced
2fennel bulbs, tough outer layer removed and fronds reservedthinly sliced
3large garlic clovesfinely slivered
2-3large pinches red pepper flakes
1large bunch of lacinato kaletough stems discard and leaves roughly chopped
juice of one lemon
freshly ground black pepper
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
chili pepper oiloptional
Put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes, or until the onions are beginning to soften.
Turn up the heat to medium, add the sliced fennel, and saute gently for an additional 6 to 8 minutes or until the fennel is tender and slightly caramelized. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another minute or two. Turn off the heat.
When the fennel is almost cooked, add the pasta to the pan of boiling water and cook until al dente, adding the kale to the pasta pot about 2 to 3 minutes before the pasta is done cooking.
Drain the pasta (reserving ½ cup of the starchy cooking water) and greens thoroughly and toss with the onion and fennel mixture in the pan - adding pasta water if necessary. Add the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Drizzle each serving with chile oil, fennel fronds, and lots of grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese.
Tips for Success:
Chile oil is available at Whole Foods and other grocery stores–or make your own by lightly heating a cup of olive oil with one tablespoon red pepper flakes.