Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for fennel, pepper and black olive fideuà | Food
I‘a relatively old dog who likes a new trick, especially when it comes to ingredients. Before making the fideuà, I always boiled my pasta. Fideuà is a traditional Valencian dish much like paella, but made with pasta, which is cooked by being immersed in broth and gently bathed until perfectly tender. In this recipe, I used fennel, pepper, and my old teammates, onion, and garlic, to bring the process up, with fruity kalamata olives and artichokes up front. It’s a fiesta-worthy meal for old dogs and all.
Fideu with fennel, pepper and black olives
You can’t rush breaking the pasta, so enlist the help of a conscientious child, if you have one. For this you will need a 26 cm diameter non-stick pan.
Preparation 15 mins
To cook 40 minutes
5 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large brown onionpeeled and thinly sliced
1 large fennel bulbthinly sliced
2 Roman peppers (300g; or normal red peppers), stem, pith and seeds removed and discarded, flesh cut into 4cm pieces
1¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
6 garlic clovespeeled and minced
2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
1 small glass of dry white wine (125ml)
1 280 g jar of artichokes in oildrained
20 kalamata olivespitted and cut in half
10g fresh dillfinely chopped
1 lemonquartered, to serve
Over a large bowl, break the pasta into 3cm long pieces and set aside.
Put the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and when hot, add the onion, fennel, peppers and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook for another five minutes, then combine the paprika and tomato puree, and cook for five minutes, stirring regularly as it will start to stick together (those sticky bits are very delicious). Add the wine, then scrape the bottom of the pan to release any sticky bits and incorporate them into the mixture.
Stir in the spaghetti until every strand is coated with sauce, then layer the artichokes and olives in a nice, decorative way. Pour in 700ml of water, shake the pan to settle the water, then bring to the boil, which should take two to three minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, until the pasta is cooked through and the liquid has evaporated from the bottom of the pan (the spaghetti should start to rise vertically when ready, but if it is not the case, eat a few wicks to check). To check if the water has evaporated, push the handle of a wooden spoon into the bottom of the mixture to see.
Serve the fideuà straight from the pan, garnished with finely chopped dill and four lemon wedges placed at the north, east, south and west points of the pan.