Fennel in Béchamel Sauce With Parmesan Cheese


This is such a simple yet elegant recipe that I often make it to go along with braised or roasted meat. Rich and creamy with just a crunch from the cheese topping, the unique taste of fennel really shines in this dish. For me, this is real Italian comfort food, and when I need pampering will often make this dish.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Fennel in Béchamel Sauce With Parmesan Cheese

Creamy béchamel is used to cover fennel before baking, creating a tender side dish for grilled or roasted meats.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Fennel Bulbs
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmigiano
  • 2 Cups Béchamel Sauce (Recipe Below)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter To Finish

Béchamel Sauce:

  • 4 Tablespoons Of Butter
  • 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Dash of Nutmeg

Directions:

  1. To make the béchamel, melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat.
  2. Once it has completely melted and is bubbling, add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon.
  3. Cook for a minute or two until the flour just begins to take on some color.
  4. Slowly start adding the milk, whisking continuously to prevent lumps from forming.
  5. Continue to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, stirring often.
  6. Season with a pinch of salt, white pepper and nutmeg.
  7. Wash the fennel, strip away the outer layer of leaves if they’re tough, slice the bulbs into thin wedges about 1/2 inch thick.
  8. Use a sharp knife to cut out core pieces.
  9. Boil the sliced fennel for about 7 minutes in salted water, or until just tender when pierced with a fork.
  10. Drain.
  11. Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C).
  12. Butter an oven-proof casserole dish, and transfer fennel to the dish.
  13. Pour the béchamel sauce over the fennel, and then sprinkle with the grated cheese.
  14. Dot the top with the remaining butter and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  15. Serve warm.