Pasta Zucchine con Finocchietto ( Fennel sauce with Zoodles)

Posted on Nov 13 2014 - 11:28am by Marianne

A delicious traditional Sicilian pasta dish. Made with the tender stems of the Fennel plant. I joke that when my dad was out and about he always had one eye on the parklands next to the road as he drove. He would never miss finding wild fennel and asparagus. I opted out of adding sardines in this recipe as they are not my favourite fish to eat but you could gladly add it to the sauce. You could also add pine nuts if you like. This dish is topped with breadcrumbs that were toasted in a frypan with a tablespoon of sugar (yes they found a way to put sugar anywhere) until it was toasty and light brown. They would add more and more breadcrumb mixture until their plate was empty. I tried Almond meal with a little less coconut sugar to see if I could replicate the dish and the flavour was just right.

Pasta Zucchine con Finocchietto ( Fennel Sauce with Zoodles)
4 entree serves
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  1. 6 large zucchini
  2. 1 onion chopped
  3. 1 clove of garlic crushed
  4. 2 cups of baby tender fennel stems. Washed and chopped.
  5. 800 mls of tomato passata or you could use two peeled tomato cans.
  6. 4-6 tbls almond meal (opt out if on Whole30)
  7. 1 tbls of coconut sugar (opt out if on Whole30)
  8. sea salt
  9. pepper
  10. fresh basil leaves or dried basil.
  11. 2 tbls of olive oil
  12. 1 tsp ghee
  1. Heat the oil in a sauce pan and sauté the onion and garlic until soft.
  2. Add the tomato passata, sea salt, pepper and basil to the pan and stir. Let the sauce start to simmer.
  3. Place a saucepan on the stove with salty water and bring to a boil.
  4. Add 1/2 of the chopped fennel stems to the sauce (add the pine nuts if you are using now)
  5. Simmer sauce for 15 min. If you're using the sardines add them in the last 5 mins.
  6. Meanwhile prepare the zucchini by washing, top and tailing them. I used a julienne peeler. Hold the zucchini from the top and peel in a downwards motion. Peel until you start to see the seeds, then turn around and do the same. Julienne all the flesh from the zucchini creating thin noodles. Once water is boiling add 1/2 of the remaining fennel stems and boil for 5 mins.
  7. When the 5 mins is up add the zucchini to the boiling water the water will stop boiling but remove the pan once it boils again as the zucchini will over cook. I like to only leave them in for 2 minutes exactly.
  8. Remove and drain, fresh with a little cold water. In the colander you should have the zucchini noodles and fennel. Squeeze the zucchini gently to remove excess water, you can wrap in a tea towel to remove moisture.
  9. Stir sauce it should be thickening. Remove from heat and stir in zucchini noodles/fennel stems.
  10. In a small frypan place the heat on medium low and add teaspoon of ghee. Once melted add the almond meal and sugar and stir constantly breaking up the lumps that form until it browns a little and looks like crumbs. Make sure it doesn't burn.
  11. Place the zucchini coated with sauce in a bowl and top with the almond crumb. Make sure to keep extra crumbs to top up on the pasta.
Gusto Paleo
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Marianne found success with Paleo eating when she did a Whole 30 challenge with her husband in 2014. She hit her goal weight and improved her health and wellbeing. Marianne started giving Paleo makeovers to many of her families' traditional recipes and decided to share it with everyone on her Gusto Paleo blog.

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