Linguine with Fennel, Raisins, Cinnamon, and Pine Nuts
Don't be thrown off by the inclusion of cinnamon in this recipe. It may sound odd to combine pasta and cinnamon, but if you are familiar with Middle Eastern cuisine, you probably have encountered a similar combination in the past.
The resulting dish is simply delicious. I find it rather irresistible on a cool fall evening with the cinnamon being a perfect fit for the cooler temperatures at this time of the year.
1 lb. Linguine
1 cup raisins.
1 large fennel bulb.
½ cup pine nuts.
5 Tbs. olive oil.
2 medium onions.
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon.
1 ½ cups of water.
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil for cooking the pasta. You will want to start cooking the pasta about 15 minutes before the veggies are done cooking (the veggies will take about 20 minutes).
Add the raisins to a small bowl and steep in hot water until raisins are needed – this will soften them considerably.
In a small pan, dry roast the pine nuts. Make sure to pay constant attention to them – if they are allowed to sit idly in the pan, they will burn. Stir them constantly until a nice golden hue. Once they are golden, remove them from the pan and place them in a small bowl. If you leave them in the hot pan, they will burn.
Trim the fronds and stems off the fennel and discsard.
Slice fennel in half and remove the tough core.
Cut through each fennel half – so that you end up with a quartered fennel.
Cut fennel into thin slices – about 1/8 of an inch thick.
Peel onions and slice to about the same thickness as the fennel.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan – one that has a lid!
Add the onions and cook for four minutes until soft.
Drain the raisins.
Add fennel, drained raisins, salt, cinnamon, and water.
Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the veggies are soft, add the drained pasta and the pine nuts. Stir, taste for salt and cinnamon.