Spicy Spaghetti with Fennel and Herbs Print Email

1 1/2 ounces bacon, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large red jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 large fennel bulb, stalks and fronds removed, base thinly sliced
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 pound spaghetti
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
Salt and pepper

Add the bacon to a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook until browned. Remove the bacon with slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil to the bacon fat and toss in the garlic and chiles. Cook for 1 minute and then add the fennel. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Pour in broth, lemon juice, half the parsley, and fennel seeds. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low, cover the skillet, and cook for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. With about 5 minutes left in the timer for the fennel, cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the box. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta in a colander.

Remove the cover from the skillet with the fennel. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to high and cook until most of the liquid has been evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add the pasta to the skillet along with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/4 cup of cheese, the cooked bacon, and 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Toss well and cook for 1 minute. If mixture is too dry add the other 1/4 cup of pasta cooking liquid. Otherwise, plate the pasta.

Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. - serves 3 to 4 -