There is something special about finding yourself a home where you form a good relationship with your neighbours. Most of my living experiences have consisted of perhaps knowing faces to greet as you go past, but would hardly qualify as people who I would borrow a cup of sugar from, let alone sit down to share a meal with. Where we live now has changed that for me. A lovely couple of a similar age to us live next door and it is quite a frequent occasion that we end up on each others doorstep with a bottle of wine in hand, extra food that we’ve been cooking to be shared, or perhaps an invitation to join in for dinner. It’s the stuff good community is made of.
Recently we got together last minute for a dinner of roast pork. Now I’m quite open about not being great when it comes to roasts, but vegetables on the other hand I’m very confident about, so I volunteered to put some together to accompany our meal. I had two bulbs of fennel sitting in the fridge that I’d bought on a whim and wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them so this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to use them.
The recipe for this has been directly sourced from Marcella Hazan’s The Essential Guide to Italian Cooking which we are cooking from this month for The Cookbook Guru. Hazan spends a great deal of time in her books talking about the importance of the quality of ingredients to creating good food and dishes like this prove the point in their simplicity. If the ingredients are not fresh and in season then the flavours won’t work, instead resulting in something insipid, gluey and uninspired. The good news is that fennel is in season now in Australia, so if there is ever a good time to try a recipe like this then now is it.
Braised Fennel with Parmesan Cheese
* sourced from Marcella Hazan’s The Essential Guide to Italian Cooking.
- 3 firm and fresh fennel bulbs, cleaned and sliced into 1cm slices
- 50g butter
- 3 tbl sp. freshly grated parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano is best)
Clean the tops and bottoms off your fennel and then slice into pieces just under 1cm in width. Wash in cold water well to get rid of any soil or silt that may be sitting between the layers.
Place the fennel along with the butter into a large saucepan and fill with water to only just cover the ingredients. Place over a medium heat and simmer without using a lid so that the water evaporates off the mixture. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking until the water has been completely absorbed.
Serve hot with the parmesan stirred through last minute and season lightly with salt if necessary.
This is delicious with roast pork but would also go well with grilled fish.
Shared With Love,