Fennel is a common vegetable in Sicily. The aniseed flavour of fennel is combined in this dish with the savoury and spicy flavour of the meat. We like it spicy and often use chorizo instead of salami. The crispy baked breadcrumbs gives the dish extra ‘bite’.
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 160 g spicy Italian salami or chorizo, in one piece
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons of fennel seed
- 2 medium-sized fennel bulbs in thin slices (keep the green separate)
- 2 (400 g) tins of peeled tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 600 g dried spaghetti or linguini
- 2 hands old breadcrumbs (and optional rosemary)
- Cut the salami into strips.
- Pour 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. Add the salami and garlic.
- Crush the fennel seeds in a mortar (or with a knife) and put it in the pan as well. Let it fry on low heat for a few minutes so that the fat runs out and the salami becomes crispy.
- Stir in the thin slices of fennel, put the lid on the pan and turn up the heat.
- Let it cook for 5 minutes and add the peeled tomatoes, then the rosemary sprigs and chili flakes. Take another 25 minutes until it has thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook the spaghetti in a large pan with boiling water ‘al dente’. This is about 2 minutes earlier than the cooking time stated on the packet.
- For the crispy breadcrumbs, cut off the crusts from a few slices of stale bread and briefly grind the rest in a blender. For extra flavour add fresh rosemary and blend this with the breadcrumbs. Bake the breadcrumbs with 4 or 5 tablespoons of olive oil until they start to get crispy.
- Drain the spaghetti, put it back in the pan and stir in the tomato sauce.
- Serve in a large bowl and sprinkle with the fennel green and the crispy breadcrumbs.
- A few drops of chili oil or rosemary oil give this dish an extra kick.
From: Jamie Oliver, Happy Days with the Naked Chef