Penne with Fennel Sauce, Pine Nuts, and Sun-dried Tomatoes
This versatile sauce can be used wherever you would use a tomato sauce. For this recipe, the fennel sauce is tossed with a gluten-free penne pasta for a light vegan lunch.
2 teaspoons coconut oil
10 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed
2 bulbs fennel, cut into chunks (keep a few green fronds separated for garnish)
2 cups vegetable stock
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup basil
½ cup coconut cream
Pepper to taste
1 lb penne pasta
1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, roughly chopped
½ cup toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons lemon zest
Heat the coconut oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes until lightly fragrant.
Add the fennel, vegetable stock, and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and cook covered until the fennel is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the basil and puree the sauce with an immersion blender, or transfer sauce into a food processor and blend until smooth.
Return the sauce to the pot, and add the coconut cream. Cook on medium heat and reduce for a few minutes to thicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (This sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead. Cover and keep in the refrigerator.)
Cook penne in large pot of boiling salted water according to directions on box. Drain. Combine 3 cups fennel sauce, cooked penne, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts in same pot and toss over medium-high heat to coat, adding more sauce, if desired.
Divide pasta into individual bowls. Top each bowl with lemon zest and fennel fronds.