QF Walnut Fennel PastaWEB

Walnut Fennel Pasta. (Linda Gassenheimer)

This light vegetable dish features toasted walnuts and fennel. Fennel gives this dish an anise or licorice flavor. It’s a large white bulb with celerylike stems and green, feathery leaves. The leaves and fennel seeds add another layer of flavor to the dish. Toasting the walnuts intensifies the walnuts flavor.

SHOPPING LIST: To buy: 1 small package broken walnuts, 1 fennel bulb, 1 bottle fennel seeds, 1 can reduced-sodium diced tomatoes and 1 package whole wheat spaghetti. Staples: olive oil, onion, minced garlic, salt and black peppercorns.

Walnut and Fennel Pasta

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 6 teaspoons olive oil, divided use
  • 1-1/2 cups fennel cubes
  • 1-1/2 cups diced onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1-1/2 cups canned, reduced-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fennel leaves

Place a large saucepan with 3 to 4 quarts water on to boil for spaghetti. Coarsely chop walnuts and toast them for 1 to 2 minutes. (Walnuts can be toasted in a toaster oven or under the broiler. Watch to make sure they do not burn.) Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fennel and onion. Sauté 5 minutes stirring or until onion turns golden. Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic and fennel seeds and sauté another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, as soon as the water comes to a rolling boil, add the spaghetti and cook 8 to 9 minutes or according to package instructions. Drain and add to the skillet. Add the remaining 4 teaspoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Sprinkle walnuts and fennel leaves on top. Divide between 2 dinner plates.

Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 630 calories (50 percent from fat), 34.9 g fat (3.4 g saturated, 11.9 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 19.9 g protein, 70.7 g carbohydrates, 16.4 g fiber, 67 mg sodium

Quick Fix is a Tribune News Service column from Linda Gassenheimer. She is the author, most recently, of “The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook,” “Delicious One-Pot Dishes” and “Quick and Easy Chicken.” Her website is dinnerinminutes.com. Follow her on Twitter @lgassenheimer. Email: linda@dinnerinminutes.com.

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