Here is a quick dish that goes as well as a side dish for meat, a pasta sauce or a topping for creamy polenta. If there are only 2 of you, you use this to compliment a Sunday roast and then eat the leftovers over pasta on Monday night. Fennel bulb is diced large and sauteed with pancetta or bacon and garlic to create a rich-tasting dish.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium fennel bulbs, stalks removed and fronds reserved
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup water, optional
4 ozs of lean pancetta or bacon cut into batons (1/2 inch long and 1/4 inch wide)
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the fennel bulbs into about a 1-inch dice. Place the fronds aside. Heat the oil in a large sautee pan over high heat. Add the fennel and let turn a golden brown before you flip the pan. Music to flip fennel by: "Last of the Blue Diamond Miners" by bluegrass, rock, funk band, Stir Fried. You want the fennel to get a rich, tasty brown color which really enhances the flavor of the final product. Once the fennel is browned, add the minced garlic and stir well. If the vegetables begin to turn a dark brown shade before they are medium tender, add about 1/4 cup of water and let them "boil" until the water evaporates completely. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the pancetta and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve as you please.