1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced - I used a mandoline
2 small cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of cubed pancetta, optional
2 tsp crushed red chillies
1/4 chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan reggiano
3/4 cup broth - I used homemade chicken broth
1 tbsp lemon juice
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and add pancetta over medium heat. Once the fat renders, remove pancetta, add crushed red chillies and garlic. Cook until garlic begins to turns deep yellow.
- Add sliced fennel and stir for a minute or two. Now add lemon juice, broth, salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt - parmesan will add some saltiness as well. Bring to a simmer, cover, lower heat and let cook until fennel is done. This should take about 15-20 mins.
- During this time, cook the pasta. Keep it a little more than al dente, so that it can finish cooking in the fennel sauce. Save 1/2 a cup of pasta water.
- Now uncover the fennel sauce and let it cook on medium heat to cook off most of the liquid. Until you have 2 tbsps of the liquid left.
- Add the partially cooked pasta to the pan, stir to combine and add a 1/4 cup of the pasta water. If it's too dry, add another 1/4 cup. The idea is to keep it moist. Cook for a minute until pasta is cooked through.
- Mix in parmesan reggiano and garnish with cilantro. Serve hot.