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Roast Fennel & Tomato Soup

1 bulb fennel, thickly sliced

6oz cherry tomatoes

1 carrot, chopped

1tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1tsp rosemary

1 bayleaf

11/2 pints veggie stock

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Chop up fennel & place in baking dish with the tomatoes, garlic & carrot. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the vegetables and roast at 180C / 350C for an hour or until soft.

Tranfer ingredients to a saucepan & add stock, balsamic vinegar & herbs. Simmer for 10 mins.

Take off the heat, remove bay leaf & liquidize in a blender. Season to taste. Pass through a fine sieve.
 

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Italian Autumn Casserole

1 fennel bulb, tough outside leaves removed

1/2 red pepper, chopped into chunks

175ml/6floz extra virgin olive oil

1 x 400g/14oz tin of chopped tomatoes

1 400g/14oz tin of cannelini beans, drained & rinsed

1 head of garlic, split into cloves and peeled

125ml/4floz dry white wine

30g/2tbsp chopped oregano leaves

24 black olives, stoned and cut in half

30ml/2tbsp balsamic vinegar

12 fresh basil leaves

salt and freshly ground black pepper

150ml/¼pt boiling water

Method

Preheat the oven to 160C/315F/Gas3.Cut the fennel lengthways into quarters.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy based saucepan and add the fennel. Cook the fennel over a medium heat, turning frequently, for 20 minutes or until starting to brown. Halfway through cooking the fennel add the chunks of red pepper. Add the tomatoes, garlic, boiling water, wine, oregano, beans, balsamic vinegar and some black pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and place in the oven for 1½ hours.

Remove the pan from the oven and add the olives and basil leaves.

Serve with crusty bread.
 
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