Pasta with Fennel, Olives,
Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts
by John Ryan
Even though this recipe is vegetarian, nutritious, and tasty,
someone is bound to point out that olives and nuts contain a lot of
fat. You've got to shake your head and wonder where our fat-phobia
gurus are leading us when they make us afraid of nuts and berries.
(Yeah, I know, olives aren't berries, but I think you get my
Anyway, I adapted this recipe from Annie Sommerville's excellent
book Fields of Greens. The sauce is great over pasta; it's also
very good over beans.
Finally, try oil-cured olives. You'll find them in jars,
probably in the Italian food section of the supermarket. Pitting
them is a nuisance, but you only need ten or twelve. Canned black
olives look good, but with them you get the fat without the
- 8 ounces dried pasta
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups sliced fennel, sometimes called anise
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5-ounce can)
- 12 good olives, pitted and roughly chopped, about 1/4 cup
- Parmesan cheese
- Start water for pasta. The sauce takes about 15 minutes, so
time the pasta accordingly.
- Stir the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat until they
turn golden brown. Set them aside. Slice just the fennel bulb just
like you would an onion. Set aside or throw away the fronds.
- Use the same pan to sauté the fennel in olive oil. When
the fennel softens, add the garlic. After a minute or so, add the
tomatoes and olives. Cover and simmer for a few minutes. (The sauce
is basically done, so when the pasta is done you're ready to
- When the pasta is done, stir in the toasted pine nuts and pour
the sauce over the pasta. Toss slightly and offer parmesan cheese
at the table.
- Pasta with Fennel,
Olives, Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts
Both chef and musician, John Ryan wrote the Just Good Food blog from 1996 through 2001.
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