An easy pasta dish that is full of sophisticated flavors! Caramelized fennel and onions flavor the sauce and spinach adds a fresh component to this creamy parmesan fettuccine. Serve with a glass of crisp white wine for the perfect spring meal!
I can’t believe it’s already Thursday! This week is flying by. Heck, this entire year so far is flying by. I feel as though I say that all the time, but I can’t help it!
The weather has been absolutely beautiful the past few days. Yesterday it hit 83º here. Um, hello summer? It felt amazing to go outside in a t-shirt, drive with the sunroof open, and hear all the birds singing. I do hope we get some actual spring-like weather before we get to summer, though!
Today’s recipe is the perfect dish to welcome spring – it’s still comforting, but gets a nice fresh component from spinach and sweet caramelized fennel.
I receive fennel quite frequently in my CSA. I love it raw in salads and roasted as a side dish, but Kyle isn’t a fan of fennel unless it’s caramelized. He said when it’s caramelized he doesn’t know he’s eating it, so that’s how I’ve been making it.
In this recipe, I mix the fennel with onions to add more volume since I only had one bulb of fennel. However, you can easily do all fennel or even all onions. Spinach is another vegetable that I’ve been receiving a lot of in my CSA. You can really use any green that you like – kale would be a good choice!
I recently discovered fresh gluten-free pasta at Whole Foods. I was really excited to see it and try it, but if I’m being honest, I didn’t have high hopes. It’s so easy to be let down by gluten-free products, which makes me rarely buy them. However, I was SO surprised by this pasta!
It cooks up like regular pasta and tastes amazing! The only thing that I do differently with it (and all gluten-free pasta) is rinsing it. Since gluten-free products are starchier than regular, it helps to rinse the extra off. That way it performs the same when you toss it with your sauce instead of being a gummy mess.
I now have a freezer full of fresh pasta for when I need a quick meal!
Since the sauce is made with half and half, it’s much lighter than other cream sauces, so you don’t have to feel too guilty indulging. Plus, there’s veggies. Vegetables always cancel out creamy sauces, right? ?
Enjoy the weather (if it’s warm where you are!) and have a great weekend! ?
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 1 Tablespoon Extra-Light Olive Oil
- 1 Bulb Fennel, thinly sliced
- 1 Onion, thinly sliced
- Salt, to taste
- ½ Teaspoon Sugar
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 3 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
- 1 (9 oz.) Package Fresh Gluten-Free Linguine*
- 1 Cup Half and Half
- 1 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Bag Fresh Spinach
- Extra Parmesan Cheese, for serving
- Melt the butter with the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once it’s melted add the thinly sliced fennel and onion and stir. Season the mixture with salt and the sugar and turn the heat down to low. Allow the fennel and onion to cook low and slow until nicely caramelized, about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Season the caramelized fennel and onions with black pepper and add in the garlic.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season the water liberally with salt and add in the fresh pasta, pulling it apart as you add it into the water. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions (usually 2-3 minutes). Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water and then drain the pasta. If you’re using gluten-free pasta, rinse it with warm water*.
- While you’re waiting for the water to boil, you can make the sauce. Add the half and half to the caramelized fennel and onions and bring to a low simmer. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 10 minutes or until it thickens slightly. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
- Add the parmesan cheese, spinach, and pasta to the pan with the sauce and toss well to wilt the spinach and coat the pasta nicely. If the sauce seems too thick, add ¼ cup of pasta water and continue to toss. Keep adding pasta water until you reach your desired consistency – I ended up using ½ cup.
- Serve the pasta topped with extra parmesan cheese.
- *You can use regular fresh pasta if you don't need gluten-free. You can also use dried pasta if you can't find fresh, just increase the amount to 12 oz.
- *I always rinse gluten-free pastas because it helps get rid of the extra starchiness that can sometimes make your sauce gummy.