I have to admit I didn’t come up with this recipe myself, but I like it so much I wanted to put it on here anyway. I love fennel and when it’s roasted in the oven it becomes less watery, which in turn results in a slightly chewy texture and a wonderfully concentrated taste. The creaminess of the ricotta is balanced by a generous amount of lemon and the whole thing is topped off with olives and scrumptious fried breadcrumbs: probably one of my guiltiest food pleasures, but oh so delicious.
Ingredients for (2 )
175-200 g linguine (the photo shows spaghetti, but I prefer the mouthfeel of linguine)
a 250 ml bucket of good quality ricotta (don’t just use cottage cheese!)*
zest and juice of 1 organic unwaxed lemon
1 large bulb of fennel
1 toasted slice of (wholegrain) bread, crumbled
handful of chopped fresh parsley
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely chopped
1/2 cup or 120 ml water
handful of chopped olives (green or black, both are nice)
2 tbsp butter
- heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
- slice the fennel in thin strips, spread out on a baking tray toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 20 minutes.
- use a fine grater to grate off the lemon zest and put aside.
- mix about half of the ricotta with the juice from 3 quarters of the lemon, salt and pepper.
- gently fry the garlic and shallot in butter till they are soft, add salt, the crumbled toast and the parsley to the pan. Fry for a minute or so more and set aside.
- boil the linguine in salted water.
- make a sauce with 2 tbsp olive oil, 120 ml water, juice from the remaining lemon quarter and the lemon zest and salt and pepper.
- drain the linguine and mix with the sauce, the fennel and the lemon ricotta.
- Top off with extra parsley, the fried breadcrumbs and chopped olives. Keep the rest of the (plain) ricotta handy so you can add more during the meal if you want to.