Food & Wine

ITALIAN WEEK: SPICY SPAGHETTI WITH FENNEL AND HERBS

The dead of winter is the perfect time for the comfort of hearty Italian food. This week, we'll feature recipes that will put the mama back in your mia. This one's a little offbeat and comes from Epicurious.com. It was originally printed in this month's Bon Appetit magazine.

INGREDIENTS

1 pkg. (3 oz.) pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 large red jalapen~o chiles, seeded, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)

2 large fennel bulbs, stalks trimmed, cut into thin wedges with some core attached

1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth

4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds

1 lb. spaghetti

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups finely grated Pecorino Romano or Pecorino Toscano cheese, divided

DIRECTIONS

Saute pancetta in large skillet over medium heat until golden. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels. Add 1 tablespoon oil to drippings in skillet. Add garlic and chiles; saute over medium heat 1 minute. Add fennel; cook until beginning to soften, 5 minutes. Mix in broth, 2 tablespoons parsley, lemon juice and fennel seeds. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until fennel is very tender, 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta until tender; drain. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

Uncover skillet with fennel mixture and return to high heat. Cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Add fennel to pasta. Stir in 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2cup cheese, and pancetta. Add cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Toss pasta; transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons parsley over. Serve with cheese.

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