ExperiencePlus! Blog

A fennel bulb washed, trimmed, and ready for the cheesy, buttery treatment featured in this recipeFinocchio al Forno (Baked Fennel)

I grew up eating fennel, raw in salads or cooked. When I moved to the States I was surprised to realize that many people did not know about fennel, had never eaten it or did not recognize it. Of course I rarely saw it in the supermarkets in Oregon where I moved and lived for the first ten years in the US. Now I see it more often in grocery stores, but I am still surprised at how expensive it is. In Italy it was/is very moderately priced.

My mother liked to serve fennel, especially baked with béchamel sauce and Parmigiano cheese. Here is a recipe as best as I can reproduce it.

  • 5-6 heads of fennel
  • Salt and pepper
  • Two cups of Béchamel sauce
  • One cup of Parmigiano Reggiano ("parmesan") cheese

Cook the cleaned heads of fennel in boiling salted water for about 15 minutes. The fennel should be tender, but firm. Drain out the water and let cool. Cut the heads in two or four parts to get rid of all the water. Place with cut face down in a buttered terrine. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, the cheese, and the sauce and cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.

Buon appetito!