Main Dish Pasta Vegetarian

Penne with Fennel, Tomato and Blue Cheese

February 18, 2010

So recently I’ve decided to try and cut out meat from my diet. Mainly red meat and poultry. After watching Food Inc., it wasn’t a tough decision. I don’t think I could ever give it up permanently, but it couldn’t hurt to get more veggies in.

I poured over vegetarian cookbooks and blogs and found Penne with Fennel, Tomato and Blue Cheese. Surprisingly there were a ton of recipes that sounded yummy. When I purposely try to leave out meat, I find it hard to find something to eat, forgetting there are so many other food groups. I love pasta and have a small obsession with cheese. Fennel is very tasty too, especially when it’s cooked. It really mellows out from the licorice taste. I thought the combo of fennel, tomato, and blue cheese would work nicely.

Penne with Fennel, Tomato and Blue Cheese

So, how’s it taste?

It was good at first, especially since you can see how much blue cheese I added! I got bored with it though. It wasn’t this fantastic mix of flavor that I was expecting. The recipe also instructed me to slice the fennel into thin strips, but I ended up chopping mine because I didn’t want to bite into strips of fennel. Maybe that’s where I went wrong.

By chopping mine, it turned into a lot of fennel and I wish I had cooked it longer because it still had a crunch to it and it was odd with the pasta. I also used some rotini I had on hand instead of penne. I did enjoy the blue cheese with tomato sauce combo. When I warmed up leftovers, I picked out some of the fennel and it was pretty good. Guess I better follow directions next time! I don’t think I’d make this again, but at least it had cheese!

Penne with Fennel, Tomato and Blue Cheese


1 fennel bulb
3 to 4 cups dried penne pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
3-4 cups of tomato sauce
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
4 oz. crumbled blue cheese
salt & pepper to taste


1. Cut the fennel bulb in half. Cut away the hard core and root and slice into very thin strips.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, 10-12 minutes. Drain and return to the pot.

3. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the fennel and shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes over high heat, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the pasta sauce and oregano to the fennel and shallots. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes, or until the fennel is tender. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce mixture into the cooked pasta and toss well. Serve with bits of blue cheese crumbled over the top.

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