Pasta with Fennel and Kale (or Chard or Beet Greens)

Sweet fennel pairs nicely with bitter greens.




Cook's Illustrated

Prep Time

45 minutes


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, fronds removed, minced and reserved (1 tablespoon); bulb trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 3/4 lb kale or other cooking greens, washed and chopped
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan


  1. Heat oil in a large braising pan or skillet with a cover. Add onion; sauté over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in fennel; sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until fennel is tender, about 8 minutes longer. Stir in vinegar; simmer to blend flavors, 1 minute longer. Adjust seasonings
  2. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta; return to boil. Add kale; continue to cook until pasta is al dente, about 7 minutes.
  3. Drain pasta and greens; toss with fennel mixture and cheese. Transfer portions to warm pasta bowls. Garnish with reserved minced fennel fronds. Serve immediately with more cheese passed separately.

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