Fennel Pasta Salad
Recipe by Local Roots recipe contributor, Netanya Rommel, @netanyar
Fennel is one of my favorite vegetables. I love the strong anise flavor and love that it can be eaten raw in a salad like this one or roasted and caramelized (another way I love to eat it!).
1/2 pound of rotini pasta
4 baby fennel bulbs, sliced thinly and divided
1 cup sour cream or plain full-fat Greek yogurt
1 packed cup basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3 scallions, white and green parts
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
⅔ cup sliced sugar-snap peas
Lemon zest, for garnish
- In a pot of heavily salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- Make the dressing: While the water comes to a boil, chop enough of the fennel fronds to equal 1/4 cup. Put the fronds in a blender. Thinly slice enough of the fennel bulb for 3/4 cup, and set it aside. (Reserve any remaining fennel for some fried fennel to put on top!)
- Add sour cream, basil, garlic, 1 scallion, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to the blender with the fronds and purée until smooth. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice, or both, if needed.
- As soon as the pasta is done, drain it well and put it in a large mixing bowl. Immediately, while it’s still hot, toss in enough of the dressing to coat. Let pasta cool in the dressing, at least 20 minutes.
- Thinly slice remaining 2 scallions and add to bowl with pasta. Toss in sliced fennel and sugar-snap peas. Drizzle with more dressing, tossing if needed.
- To serve, transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with more olive oil, lemon zest and grind more fresh pepper over.
- To fry the fennel, add some olive oil to a skillet. Add fennel and fry until golden brown, sprinkle with salt and add to pasta.