I’m back with a fun and easy meal idea! This was a total salvage use-up, with wrinkly tomatoes I stole from my mum that were headed to the garbage and some fennel she had laying around! With some other bits and bobs it became a perfect bit of sauce for penne.
I love fennel, it has this flavor profile that reminds me of the spice blend in mild Italian sausage, just without the meat! The natural sweetness comes out as you cook it down. This dish is naturally vegetarian, and vegan if you omit or swap out the parmesan cheese, so this is a perfect dish for when you don’t know all of the food preferences of a guest.
Tomato- Fennel Penne
$5.32 for 4 or $1.33 per serving (but really… 59 cents a serving if those tomatoes were going in the trash)
~15 wrinkled tomatoes (salvaged from going to the garbage)- $0 ($2.97 for a pint if you have to buy)
1/4 of a fennel bulb- $0.82
1 shallot- 0.88
Pantry essentials- garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper
Optional: grated parmesan to finish
This pasta is seriously so easy to make that your first step is to get your pasta water on to boil! Next, mince your garlic (1-2 cloves) and finely dice your shallot and put them in a hot electric skillet (med-high heat) to start working.
Next, add in slices of your fennel, and start halving your tomatoes. I toss mine in as they’re sliced to save cutting board space. Once the tomatoes are starting to soften, flip them cut edge down and squash them lightly with your wooden spoon. The seeds and pulp will come out and start to create the liquid of your sauce.
Continue cooking and squashing your tomatoes until your pasta is done, drain your pasta (reserve some pasta water in case your sauce won’t stick) and put it straight into your skillet to coat the noodles! When dishing it up, add a bit of grated parmesan!
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How do you like to use up tomatoes that are just on the edge of going off? I’d love to hear in the comments!