Pasta with Fennel, Arugula & Lemon

 How many blogs do you read a day? And how many meals do you really cook from them? I read quite a number of blogs a day and particularly enjoy reading blogs with stories from their kitchen that encourages people to cook at home; regardless if you are a professional or amateur. Recipes past on and shared to inspire the dinner table. Food had some what became a bridge that connect cultures across the world - one bite at a time.
When I saw this recipe at Sprouted Kitchen blog. It simply caught me. It's hard to explain; like a kind of pulling factor. Attraction perhaps? I knew I just got to go out, get the ingredients and cook it. I am not sure if it is the simplicity of the ingredient list or the fennel. To be frank, I don't like fennel at all but this recipe changed my mind about fennel now. On this warm day today, miles away from where this recipe is typed and published by Sara. I am glad I had boiled the water, throw in pasta, browned the fennel. This is amazingly gratifyingly delicious.
As with bloggers (or is it just me?), I can't help but to post pictures on instagram. A good friend saw the photo and had ask me what to cook for a dinner gathering at her place. I told her to cook this and sent her this recipe. Coming from a person who doesn't know arugula is also rocket; doesn't know that creme fraiche is from the refrigerated section, she sent me this photo of her proud accomplishment with a text that says "It's damn good!" and all her friends love it. Cheers to deliciousness! 

Pasta with Fennel, Arugula & Lemon 
Serves 2 or 1 hungry me Recipe from Sprouted Kitchen, adapted via River Cottage VEG
The recipe is as simple as it is. I've hadn't change anything except to double up the garlic called for.

1 large fennel bulb, fronds reserved
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced (I doubled the garlic from 2 to 4)
6 ounces pasta (papparadelle, linguine, spaghetti etc.)
1/4 cup creme fraiche, to taste
zest of one large lemon, juice of ½ the lemon reserved
3-4 good handfuls of arugula
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
sea salt and pepper
Parmigiano Reggiano to finish

Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a boil.

Cut the fennel in half lengthwise. Remove the tough core and slice it into 1/4'' wedges. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the fennel, give it a stir and let it cook, let the side brown nicely undisturbed for 5 minutes, turn over the wedges to brown the other side for 2 mins. Give it a stir, turn the heat down to medium, add the garlic, a pinch of salt and another splash of oil if the pan looks dry. Start cooking the pasta.

Turn of the heat and to the fennel, add the creme fraiche, lemon zest and stir to coat. Add the arugula and give it another toss.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4-1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the noodles to the creamy fennel pan and toss to coat, adding a pinch or two of salt, pepper, squeeze of lemon juice and pasta water as needed.

Serve each portion with a generous grate of the parmesan and a few fennel fronds.

- till next post. ss.

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