Italian Language Blog

Finocchi Gratinati Posted by on Jan 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

We are in the middle of winter here in Italy, and one of my favorite vegetables at this time of the year is il finocchio (‘bulb’ or ‘Florentine fennel’). We divide fennel bulbs into two categories: if the bulbs are round and compact, they are called finocchi maschi (male fennel) and are best eaten raw, while the more flattish shaped bulbs are known as le femmine (the females) and they should be cooked. Here is a great recipe for the latter variety: Finocchi Gratinati (Fennel Gratin).

Ingredienti (per 4 persone): Ingredients (serves 4):
8 finocchi piccoli 8 small fennels
5 dl di besciamella 500 ml of béchamel sauce
Noce moscata Nutmeg
100 gr di emmental grattugiato 100 grams of grated Emmenthal or other similar cheese
1 tuorlo d’uovo 1 egg yolk
50 gr di Parmigiano grattugiato 50 grams of grated Parmesan cheese
Burro per ungere Butter for greasing

Preparazione (Preparation):

Clean the fennel by removing the stalks and the hard outside leaves. Cut the bulbs in quarter lengthwise. Wash them carefully and boil them for 15 minutes. Drain the fennel and cut each piece lengthwise into 5 mm thick slices.

Make the béchamel sauce, and when it’s very hot remove it from the heat and season it with nutmeg. Stir in half of the grated Emmenthal cheese and the egg yolk. Mix everything thoroughly together. Mix the remaining Emmenthal cheese and the Parmesan cheese together in a bowl.

Grease an ovenproof dish with the butter, and arrange a layer of fennel in it. Pour part of the béchamel sauce over  the fennel and sprinkle with some of the cheese mixture. Repeat these layers until you have used up all the ingredients, finishing with the cheese mixture.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200 C or 400 F (Gas Mark 6) for about 25 minutes until bubbling and golden. Serve hot.

Buon Appetito!

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