Fennel and Fennel Seed Pasta

Fennel Pasta
Molly Watson
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 2 to 3 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
243 Calories
10g Fat
28g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 3
Amount per serving
Calories 243
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 412mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 11mg 57%
Calcium 46mg 4%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 270mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

While perfectly at home as part of a larger meal, this easy and delicious Fennel Pasta can also serve as a simple one-dish meal. The bit of chile (optional but fabulous) helps warm you right up, and the browned garlic helped bring out the sweetness at the heart of fennel. This recipe easily doubles for bigger appetites.

Note: Save time by cooking the "sauce" while the pasta cooks; save dishes by cooking the sauce in the pasta pot after you've drained the noodles.


  • 1/2 pound spaghetti, or other long noodles

  • 1 bulb fennel

  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic

  • 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes, or 1 small red or green chile

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for the pasta water

  • 1/2 cup white wine, or broth

Steps to Make It

  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until it's just barely tender to the bite (it will cook a bit more in the sauce, so leave yourself some wiggle room). Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid before you drain the noodles.

  2. While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, prep the other ingredients. Halve the fennel bulb and thinly slice it. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. If using a fresh chile, remove the stem and seeds and thinly slice it. Crush the fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle or put them in a small resealable plastic bag and smash them with the bottom of a heavy frying pan. Mince the parsley.

  3. Heat the oil in a large frying, sauté pan, or the pasta pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it just starts to turn golden and barely brown at the edges. Add the chile flakes or fresh chile, stir to combine with the garlic. Add the fennel, fennel seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring, until the fennel softens a bit, about 2 minutes. Add the wine or broth, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until fennel is quite tender, about 5 minutes.

  4. Add the parsley, stir to combine. Add the drained pasta and the reserved pasta liquid, stir and toss to combine everything. Increase the heat and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and evaporated, and all the flavors have combined, 2 to 3 minutes.

  5. Serve with plenty of Parmesan, Pecorino, or whatever hard cheese you like on top of your pasta.

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