The first half of this week has gone by quickly for me. I have a new creative project on my hands and it’s unrelated to cooking or photography, both of which I enjoy immensely but I also appreciate having a new thing to channel myself into. We also have a whole host of home and garden improvements in the works. They are currently in the planning phase but we hope to start on them in the next week or two, so despite not being able to get away this summer, we will not be bored, that’s for sure.
Today’s recipe is a simple yet deliciously creamy and full of umami pasta that heroes fennel as it’s currently in season and it appears to be a vegetable that many people don’t seem to know what to do with, so I hope this recipe might help ‘break the ice’, so to speak. I have certainly overheard a few conversations in the vein of ‘what the hell is that?’ in my local supermarket and I have been asked by the cashier about the name as they did not know what to look for when putting my shopping through.
I do wonder if fennel is not that popular in the UK because it is so beloved across the pond, in France. I have certainly met a few English people who dislike certain vegetables on the basis of them being un-English. Garlic being a prime example. Do these people not realise that vegetables do not abide by countries’ borders or give a toss about stupid human rivalries? It honestly blows my mind. The funny thing is that often the same people who proudly announce that they have a long list of things they do not eat, consume the very thing they say they abhor with pleasure when the dish containing the offending item is prepared for them. I mean, I don’t ever consider cooking anything savoury without garlic…for example.
This pasta dish really celebrates fennel, which gets sliced thinly and caramelised in a pan with some zucchini ribbons and charred sweetcorn. It then gets added to linguine coated in a creamy, salty and ever so slightly sweet miso sauce. Roasted and crushed hazelnuts provide a different texture and are a nice finishing touch – although pine nuts, almonds or walnuts would work well too. It’s easy and fairly quick to make and makes a nice change from tomato-based pastas that abound at this time of the year. I hope you’ll enjoy this summer dish and that the fennel will become something you look forward to having.
PS: If you do make my fennel pasta in creamy miso sauce, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram (#lazycatkitchen). I love seeing your take on my recipes.
**The best way to roast hazelnuts is to place them on a baking tray and bake in a 180° C / 355° F pre-heated oven for 8-12, until the skins have ruptured and the nuts beneath are golden brown and fragrant. It’s best to roast them in large batches (small batches will roast very quickly). Once out of the oven, place them in a clean kitchen towel, fold the towel over the nuts and rub them against each other with your hands through the kitchen towel – this will loosen the skins, making their removal easier. Store in an air-tight jar, in a dark cupboard, for future use.