Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fennel and Tomato Ragu

I know this Lenten discipline is supposed to be all about simple eating.  And, in many ways, it has been.  But sometimes, especially when you live in the North Country, you have to take what you get when you can get it.

I love fennel.  Really love it.  And, I have set aside countless recipes because fennel bulbs cannot be found in our lovely little IGA.  So, you can imagine my joy when, upon rounding the corner last week, I came upon TWO fresh fennel bulbs in the produce section.  I bought them both.  The next day, I happened upon the March 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times, which boasted simple one-dish suppers on the cover and happened to have a collection of fennel recipes, as well!  (And, did I mention vegan cupcakes?)

This recipe called to be served over orzo pasta.  We had rice, so that's how we ate it.

Fennel and Tomato Ragu [from Vegetarian Times, March 2012]
1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
3 T tomato paste (we made our own, last summer - divine)
1 large fennel bulb, cut into 16 wedges (I wound up roughly chopping it)
2 c diced carrots
2 c chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz can, fire roasted tomatoes (we froze roasted tomatoes with garlic last summer, and used those)
2 15 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1. Place sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl, cover with boiling water, soak 30 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and set aside.
2. Coat dutch oven with cooking spray, heat over medium heat.  Add fennel, top with carrots and onions. Cook 5 minutes without stirring. Stir, then sauté for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in garlic, stir, cook 30 seconds.
3. Add tomatoes, beans, and sun-dried tomato mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 20 minutes.
4. Serve over orzo or rice. (Or, frankly, anything that sounds good to you - I bet this would be delicious on roasted potatoes, or topping a baked potato.)

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