Roasted Fennel With Onions & Guanciale {Finocchi Arrostiti}


I love fennel both raw and cooked. When enjoyed raw it has the crisp texture of celery, but with a subtle licorice flavor. When roasted, it evolves into an entirely new vegetable, both soft and sweet. We have planted a few rows of fennel in our garden, but it won’t be ready to harvest for a few weeks. I have been craving roasted fennel lately and thought I’d have to wait until our garden fennel was ready, but I was at our local grocery store recently, and it was on sale. I picked up four large bulbs of fennel, one enjoyed raw as a snack, and the other three I set aside to roast as a side dish for dinner. We harvested a large basket of onions from the garden earlier this summer, so I picked two smaller onions to combine with my fennel along with some diced guanciale.

Guanciale is an Italian cured meat product prepared from pork jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, which is Italian for cheek. This product is similar to pancetta, so if not available in your area, feel free to substitute pancetta for the guanciale. This tasty side dish would be great served alongside roasted or grilled meat.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2015

Roasted Fennel With Onions & Guanciale

Ingredients:

  • 3 Large Fennel Bulbs
  • 2 Small Red Onions
  • 3 Ounces Diced Guanciale or Pancetta
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • Zest From 1 Large Lemon
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut the tops off the fennel bulbs, cut the in half, and cut out the cores.
  3. Cut the bulbs into 1-inch slices and place in an oven-proof casserole dish.
  4. Peel the onions and cut each into 8 wedges and add to the fennel.
  5. Add the diced guanciale, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
  6. Toss to combine, coating the vegetables with the oil and seasonings.
  7. Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for about an hour and 20 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork tender and lightly browned.
  8. Cool for 15 minutes, then stir in fresh parsley.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature.