Sunday, November 7, 2010

Penne with Roasted Fennel and Onions, Seitan Sausages, and Roasted Garlic Cashew Cream

Fennel is one of my favorite vegetables. Although it’s become better known in the last 10 years, it’s still under appreciated. It’s incredibly versatile and works well cooked or raw. It’s also something that’s generally readily in cooler months. Roasting fennel mellows its flavor and brings out its sweetness. OK, the picture isn't stellar because most of the ingredients are similar in color, but it's a dish with a rich creamy garlic cream flavor and an underlying sweetness from the roasted fennel and onions. 

Penne with roasted fennel, roasted onions, seitan sausages and roasted garlic cashew cream
Serves 4-6

1 bulb of fennel (use 2 if they’re small), trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced into 3/8 inch slices (reserve some fronds if you want for garnish)
1 large onion, peeled and cut into 3/8 inch wedges
Spray oil
White wine (for deglazing the baking sheet)
1 seitan sausage (see previous blog post), cut into quarter lengthwise and the sliced 3/8 inches thick
4 teaspoons chopped basil (or cheat and use 4 Dorot frozen basil cubes from Trader Joes)
Salt and pepper to taste
1.5 cups roasted garlic cashew cream (recipe follows)
1 pound dried penne (you can substitute whole wheat pasta if you want)
Juice from 1 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Spray a sheet pan with spray oil and scatter the onion and fennel on the sheet pan. Lightly spray the onion and fennel with oil. Put the sheet pan in the oven and cook until the vegetables are browned and lightly caramelized (about 30 minutes). When they’re done, remove the pan form the oven and deglaze it with a little white wine.
2. While the fennel and onions roast, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Lightly coat it with some spray oil and add the seitan sausage and sauté for about 5-8 minutes. The seitan is already cooked – all you need to do is give it some color and texture. Don’t overcook it! Hold to the side, while the vegetables finish roasting and the pasta cooks.
3. Cook the penne until it’s al dente. Try to time it so it’s done when the vegetables are done.
4. Add the roasted vegetables and any juices to the skillet with the seitan sausages. Add the basil, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Add the cooked, drained pasta and the cashew cream. Serve in bowls. Drizzle a little lemon juice on each bowl. Garnish with fennel fronds if desired and serve.

Roasted garlic cashew cream
Makes about 1.5 cups

½ cup raw cashews
¾ cup water
½ cup roasted garlic puree
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast (nooch)
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for several minutes until emulsified and creamy.


  1. Roasted garlic cashew cream? Bookmarked!

  2. Seconded! Also, you had me at roasted fennel. I love the stuff but half the time I buy it, I can't think of anything to use it for... so I'll be filing this sucker away for later use.

  3. Oh my! Fennel, seitan sausages, roasted garlic cashew cream...all on penne? Yum! Already book marked as well.