- Half a loaf of 2-day-old ciabatta
- 2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes
- 1/2 cup (125ml) good-quality extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 Meyer or regular lemons
- 3 fennel bulbs
- 400g capellini or other fine pasta
- Step 1Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Step 2Chop or rip the bread into crouton-sized pieces, then place on a baking tray and sprinkle generously with chilli flakes and sea salt. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, then toss with your hands to ensure the chilli and salt are evenly distributed and the bread is lightly coated in oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and very crisp. Set the croutons aside and allow to cool slightly.
- Step 3Meanwhile, place the garlic in a mortar and pestle, add a pinch of sea salt and work until a rough paste forms.
- Step 4Use a sharp knife to peel the rind of 1 of the lemons into wide strips, then carefully remove the white pith from the rind. Thinly slice the lemon rind into ribbons, then set aside.
- Step 5Remove the outer leaves of the fennel and discard the stalks, reserving 1/2 cup fronds. Very thinly slice the fennel (a mandoline is ideal), then chop the fronds. Set the fennel aside.
- Step 6Place the fronds in a food processor with the cooled croutons and process to form coarse breadcrumbs.
- Step 7Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a wide pan over medium-low heat. Add the chopped fennel and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the crushed garlic, increase the heat to medium, then continue to cook for 3 minutes until the fennel starts to soften. Add the strips of lemon rind and continue to cook, stirring, over very low heat for 7 minutes or until soft and you can smell that the lemon, garlic and fennel have blended nicely. (You don’t want the fennel to brown, the lemon to curl or the garlic to fry, so err on the side of caution with the heat. This is a delicate blend of a sauce – not a spectacular in-a-minute marriage).
- Step 8Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water according to packet instructions. Drain.
- Step 9Add the drained pasta to the pan with the fennel, turning to coat the pasta in the oil and fennel mixture. Squeeze the juice of both lemons over the pasta and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.
- Step 10Divide the pasta mixture among bowls, then sprinkle with the chilli breadcrumbs and serve immediately.
- Low sodium
- Low sugar
All nutrition values are per serve
- Author: David Prior
- Image credit: Brett Stevens
- Publication: Taste.com.au