Original Blog Post: 8/30/2009
Last weekend at the North Market, Jaime of Wayward Seed Farms convinced my wife to buy a small fennel bulb.
I’m NOT a fan of licorice. I’m not particularly fond of fennel seed, and the stink of a fennel bulb pretty much turns my stomach.
So, naturally, Becke came up with a recipe for me to make for dinner one night this week which used copious quantities of thinly sliced fennel bulb (the better to drown the dish in an overabundance of fennel stank, no doubt) along with a decent quantity (1 cup each) of onion and sweet red pepper.
The result? A dish that, surprisingly, tasted not at all as I’d expected. The fennel no longer tasted of anise — instead, it reminded me of nothing so much as slightly sweet cabbage. Since I’d had the presence of mind to avoid sauteing the vegetables into a sodden mess, the fennel/pepper/onion mixture was decently firm while not being crunchy. The final step of the recipe, when I melted the asiago cheese and coated the gnocchi and other ingredients with it, added a lovely glaze and salty cheesiness to the gnocchi, which had been prepared without the use of salt or oil per the recipe and were therefore quite bland.
My opinion? This one’s a keeper. The only change I’d like to make to it is to replace the Trader Joe’s Sundried Tomato and Basil sausages (we doubled the sausage quantity from six to twelve ounces, BTW) to something more to my liking, like a roasted garlic sausage. That’s purely a matter of personal taste, of course.
Isn’t it lovely? It tastes as good as it looks.
Gnocchi With Chicken Sausage, Bell Pepper, and Fennel
(Reprinted from RecipeZaar with several minor changes)
From Cooking Light, April 2008.
25 min | 10 min prep
16 ounces gnocchi
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
12 ounces fully cooked chicken sausage, sliced (Trader Joe’s Sundried Tomato & Basil works well)
1 cup thinly sliced fennel
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup freshly grated asiago cheese
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Cook the gnocchi according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain the gnocchi in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Keep gnocchi warm.
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Remove sausage from skillet using a slotted spoon.
Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan. Add fennel, bell pepper, and onion to pan; cook 13 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
Add sausage, gnocchi, cheese, black pepper, and reserved cooking liquid to pan; cook 1 minute or until cheese melts, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in parsley.