Caramelized Fennel & Kale Bucatini with Pecorino, Toasted Breadcrumbs & Powdered Honey

Caramelized Fennel & Kale Bucatini

with Pecorino, Toasted Breadcrumbs & Powdered Honey

2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

Bucatini is a spaghetti-like pasta whose long, thin center is hollow. (“Buco” means “pierced” in Italian.) Like ziti but smaller, bucatini noodles are built to capture and absorb sauce. In this recipe, you’ll load them with the flavors of softened aromatics and fennel three ways—stems, bulb and pollen. Topped with toasted breadcrumbs for crunchy texture and the earthy sweetness of powdered honey in the spice blend, this dish is bursting with the flavors of autumn.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    700 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
Caramelized Fennel & Kale Bucatini with Pecorino, Toasted Breadcrumbs & Powdered Honey
Title
time-saving
tips & techniques
Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Pick off the fennel fronds (the green, thread-like tops of the plant); place in a small bowl. Thinly slice the fennel stems and small dice the fennel bulb. Remove and discard the stems of the kale; thinly slice the leaves into ribbons. Peel and small dice the onion.

Toast the panko breadcrumbs:
2 Toast the panko breadcrumbs:

In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the panko breadcrumbs and toast, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the pan.

Caramelize the onion & fennel:
3 Caramelize the onion & fennel:

In the same pan used to toast the breadcrumbs, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the onion, fennel stems, fennel bulb and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned and caramelized.

Add the kale:
4 Add the kale:

Add the kale to the pan of caramelized onion and fennel; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender and wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook the pasta & add it to the sauce:
5 Cook the pasta & add it to the sauce:

Add the bucatini pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 7 to 9 minutes, or until just shy of al dente. Reserve ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water; drain and transfer the pasta directly to the pan of vegetables. Add ½ cup of the reserved pasta water to the pan. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce. (If the sauce seems too dry, slowly add the remaining reserved pasta water to achieve your desired consistency.) Remove from heat and stir in the butter and Pecorino cheese; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Plate your dish:
6 Plate your dish:

Divide the pasta between 2 dishes. Garnish with the toasted breadcrumbs, fennel fronds and spice blend. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Pick off the fennel fronds (the green, thread-like tops of the plant); place in a small bowl. Thinly slice the fennel stems and small dice the fennel bulb. Remove and discard the stems of the kale; thinly slice the leaves into ribbons. Peel and small dice the onion.

2 Toast the panko breadcrumbs:

In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the panko breadcrumbs and toast, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the pan.

Toast the panko breadcrumbs:
Caramelize the onion & fennel:
3 Caramelize the onion & fennel:

In the same pan used to toast the breadcrumbs, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the onion, fennel stems, fennel bulb and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned and caramelized.

4 Add the kale:

Add the kale to the pan of caramelized onion and fennel; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender and wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add the kale:
Cook the pasta & add it to the sauce:
5 Cook the pasta & add it to the sauce:

Add the bucatini pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 7 to 9 minutes, or until just shy of al dente. Reserve ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water; drain and transfer the pasta directly to the pan of vegetables. Add ½ cup of the reserved pasta water to the pan. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce. (If the sauce seems too dry, slowly add the remaining reserved pasta water to achieve your desired consistency.) Remove from heat and stir in the butter and Pecorino cheese; season with salt and pepper to taste.

6 Plate your dish:

Divide the pasta between 2 dishes. Garnish with the toasted breadcrumbs, fennel fronds and spice blend. Enjoy!

Plate your dish:
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