fennel pesto penne

One Saturday lunch time we were returning from some errands in our car but it was such a beautiful fall day, ani said "Let's go to Manayunk" just as we were closing in on the home address, so we slipped onto the often traffic troubled Interstate I-76 that shoots down into Philly thinking on a Saturday midday there couldn't be much traffic. Wrong. But the 10 minute ride was only drug out to about 15 or 20, we weren't keeping track. And we arrived. And of course there are lots of good smells on Main Street from all the eclectic restaurants, so we went right to a favorite light lunch spot cafe with great panini and the best cappuccino in the region: La Colombe (Torrefaction: coffee roasters and blenders), a small Philadelphia based chain whose owners also make their own special quality coffee that is marketed to high end restaurants and other miscellaneous sale points.

The veggie panino had fennel pesto spread on the bread. An intriguing flavor enhancer. Greatly appreciated by bob and ani alike. After some miscommunication about what ingredients went into the pesto, and a request that they get the (absent) manager to call us to enlighten us on the lineup, our question finally connected with one of the employees and she wrote down the list on their business card: fennel, artichoke hearts, basil, garlic and olive oil. Okay! Simple. We can do this ourselves.

So the next day we did.


1/4 lb = 1/2 c fennel
1/3 lb artichoke hearts (cooked)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 c fresh basil
0.45 c olive oil
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 c freshly grated parmigiano
a sprinkling of salt
12 oz low carb penne pasta


  1. Start the pasta water boiling and when ready, dump in your best guess for the salt and then the pasta and cook until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, clean the fennel, cutting in half vertically and then cutting out the hard heart in the center bottom. We used about 1/3 the normal sized bulb and some of the fine greens attached to the removed stalks. Clean the basil. Ready the garlic if none is in ready-to-use form in the fridge like we usually keep in a small jar.
  3. Food process the fennel briefly until fine. Then add in the artichoke hearts and garlic and briefly food process. Then the basil, pepper and olive oil. Food process briefly until a not too stiff a paste.
  4. When the pasta is done, drain and return to the pot and combine well with the pestoŚwe only used about 2/3 of the pesto we had made and put the remaining 4oz in a small plastic container in the fridge for later possible use in sandwich-making or mold culturing, depending on fate.
  5. Stir in the parmigiano and taste for salt. Possibly add a sprinkling of salt to adjust, maybe some more pepper. Mix well and serve.


  1. Illustrations available.
  2. Yes, we liked it very much. This nontraditional pesto game is pretty easy to play.
fnlpspne.htm: 1-nov-2003 [what, ME cook? ę 1984 dr bob enterprises]