Pasta with Fennel, Saffron and Raisins
This Sicilian-style pasta is a great venue for fennel. I also like this pasta with sardines.
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- 1 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 2-3 TBSP olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 pinch saffron
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3-4 handfuls of baby spinach
- 1 1/2 TBSP parsley, chopped
- 1/2 package spaghetti or fettucini*
- salt and pepper
- 8-12 large prawns (optional)
Breadcrumb Topping (optional)
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs**
- 1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1 TBSP minced parsley
- 1 TSP crushed red pepper or Aleppo chili
- 1 TSP lemon zest
- salt and pepper
- Place raisins and saffron in a bowl and cover with white wine. Let sit for at least 15 minutes (This will plump the raisins and bloom the saffron for maximum flavor.)
- Prepare pasta in salted water according to package directions.
- While pasta water is coming to a boil, heat oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat.
- Add fennel and onions to pan and sauté until vegetables begin to brown.
- Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, until garlic is fragrant.
- Add wine, saffron, and raisin mixture and cook for 3 minutes.
- Season mixture with salt and pepper.
- If using prawns, season them with salt and pepper and add to pan. Cook for 3-5 minutes until they are cooked through.
- Add spinach and lemon juice to pan and cover to allow spinach to wilt
- Add cooked pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking water to vegetable mixture and toss to combine.
- Serve immediately topped with parsley and breadcrumb topping (if using).
Optional breadcrumb topping
- Heat olive oil on medium heat.
- Add remaining ingredients and cook until breadcrumbs are browned and crispy.
- Top each serving of pasta with breadcrumb mixture.
- *Regular or whole wheat pasta both work great here. My go-to pasta is a high-fiber white pasta - Ronzoni Smart Taste
- **I save the heels of sliced bread and any other bread products in a plastic bag in the freezer. When the bag is full or when I need breadcrumbs I put bread pieces in the food processor and process until medium fine. I keep a bag of breadcrumbs in the freezer at all times so I have them whenever I need them for topping casseroles, or using on pasta dishes.