I’m willing to bet there are hundreds of pasta recipes out in the world. The simple combination of noodles and sauce is such a delight to work with because there’s absolutely no limit to the variations you can make. This Rigatoni with Fennel and Capers is a recipe I love borrowing from a friend whenever I have a fresh batch of fennel from the garden because of its unique flavor.
The sauce is made from fennel that’s cooked until soft throughout and golden brown on the bottom, with a sprinkling of capers, garlic, red pepper flakes, and mint leaves added in and mixed well. Adding the zest of a small orange and a lemon to the mix will give the sauce a delightful surprise. This brings out a delightful citrusy kick amidst all the sweet, salty, savory, and slightly spicy flavors already present. With how zesty this pasta is, even kids will appreciate eating the veggies included! It might not look as bright or as colorful as other pasta dishes, but all it takes is one bite to appreciate the true charm of this Rigatoni with Fennel and Capers.
This dish is incredibly easy to make. Only 45 minutes go by, and I have several servings of tasty and filling pasta? Score! When it comes to saving time, dry boxed rigatoni is your friend here. If you’re feeling fancy or particularly inspired, however, making fresh pasta is a great way to elevate this dish. Try it out for yourself—the best way to experience this dish is to taste it!Print
Rigatoni with Fennel and Capers
Searching for a new pasta recipe? This Rigatoni With Fennel and Capers might just be the perfect flavorful and zesty pasta for you!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4
- Category: Entrées
- 3 fennel bulbs, fronds (the leafy top) removed, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup mint leaves, packed in
- 1 small orange (mandarin) or tangerine
- 1 lemon
- 1 pound box of dry rigatoni pasta
- 1 1/2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven until oil shimmers.
- Add fennel wedges to pot in an evenly spread out layer.
- Season with salt and pepper and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until fennel is softened and golden brown on the bottom.
- Reduce heat and add capers, garlic, red pepper flakes, and mint leaves to pot. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
- Remove pot from heat and add the zest of the orange and lemon to the mixture, stirring well to combine. Cover and set aside.
- Cook rigatoni al dente in boiling salted water, according to the package.
- Drain pasta, reserving 1 1/2 cups pasta liquid.
- Uncover pot with sauce and add pasta and reserved pasta liquid.
- Heat over medium-low for about 2 minutes, adding Pecorino Romano cheese and vigorously tossing.
- Serve in pasta bowls, topped with torn mint leaves as garnish.
Fennel deserves a lot more love and attention from food gardeners! The Fabulous Fennel Gardening Guide will give you everything you need to know about fennel, including planting tips, harvesting methods, and quick-and-easy recipes that will please even the most discriminating diner! Check it out and start growing fennel today.
Have you tried this recipe? Make pasta night different at your house, and please tell us how it turned out for you by commenting below.