All the produce, plus the cheese, for the Penne Tuscano recipe below can be found at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. This wonderful recipe was shared by Sandy Foster, owner/chef of the Village Pizzeria in Galway located just 12 miles west of Saratoga Springs on Route 29.
The roasted fennel gives this recipe its unique flavor often found in traditional Italian dishes. Fennel looks like a flattened bunch of celery with a fist-shaped bulbous base, long stalks and feathery leaves. The window of opportunity to enjoy this unique vegetable is short, as it ripens in autumn just before frost. Fennel does not store well long-term, so it’s best to enjoy it fresh within a week.
Chevre, a mild and creamy soft cheese made with goat’s milk, adds a rich flavor to this recipe. It can be found at the Sweet Spring Farm or Homestead Artisans at Longview Farm stands. Combine it with the other seasonal produce including garlic, spinach, basil and tomatoes for a delicious local market meal.
Today’s recipe is from the “Farmers’ Market Favorite Recipes” cookbook available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, the Cornell Cooperative Extension office in Ballston Spa, and other retail locations. The cookbook can also be ordered online at www.ccesaratoga.org.
1 bulb fennel*, roasted
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (divided)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic*
¼ pound fresh spinach*
6 ounces chevre* (soft goat cheese)
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup chopped fresh basil*
15 grape or cherry tomatoes*
1 pound penne pasta, preferably whole wheat, cooked al dente
To roast fennel, slice into bite-sized pieces, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, place on a cookie sheet, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil and roast in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet, add chopped garlic and sauté until lightly browned. (Be careful not to burn the garlic.) Add spinach and roasted fennel, lightly sauté until spinach wilts.
Add chevre, white wine, basil and tomatoes. Cook gently to warm all ingredients, about 5 minutes. Pour over cooked penne in a large bowl or pot and toss. Makes 8 servings.
Per Serving: 370 calories; 14 g fat (4 g sat); 10 mg cholesterol; 49 g carbohydrate; 14 g protein; 160 mg sodium. Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (110% daily value), Vitamin C (40% dv), Calcium (15% dv), Iron (20% dv).
Ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) are available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market on High Rock Avenue. For information about food and nutrition contact Diane Whitten at Cornell Cooperative Extension at 885-8995or email@example.com.