Baked Fennel With Mozzarella and Tomato Sauce

A baked fennel casserole with mozzarella and tomato sauce so easy to make, yet so delicious!

You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty dish and enjoy it as a simple and healthy dinner or as a side dish for your protein meals.

Baked Fennel Casserole

What is Fennel?

Fennel is considered a vegetable, think of onions or carrots…though is not a root. When the bulbs are raw they have a crunchy and watery texture (like celery) and once cooked is very soft. The taste is fresh and with a slightly sweet licorice flavour.

Fennel is very low in calories and is high in nutrients like vitamin C, potassium and calcium. The seeds are used in many sweet and salty recipes to enhance the flavour, like traditional salsicce or biscotti.

Three raw fennel bulbs on a marble surface.

Seeds are also used to make infusions that can reduce inflammation and help with digestion.

My husband loves fennel and I try to make it often, because this plant is so versatile that can be used in multiple recipes like soups, pasta sauces, salads and my favourite: Casseroles. Check out this Creamy Baked Fennel recipe!

Baked fennel with mozzarella and tomato sauce.

The Easy Recipe

You can find the ingredients list below, in the recipe card.

In a saucepan, over medium heat, sauté the garlic with extra virgin olive oil for half a minute to release its aroma. Add the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Let the sauce simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes taking care to not let it reduce too much (we need it a little bit juicy). Adjust with salt and pepper then discard the garlic and set aside.

Wash throughly the fennel bulbs. Cut the stalks and fronds off the fennel then cut the bulbs into think slices. Using the tip of a knife discard carefully the core.

Fennel bulbs cut into slices on a cutting board.

PRO TIP: Don’t throw away the stalks and core, instead, use them to make infusions or just freezer them and use them in your soups and stocks to add a fresh touch.

Cook fennel by boiling it for about 2-3 minutes or you can also steam it. Place it onto a bowl and add the tomate sauce. Mix throughly to coat evenly.

Cooked fennel coated with tomato sauce onto a bowl.

Grease a small casserole or gratin pan with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and place half of the fennel mixture. Add ⅓ of the mozzarella cheese and then a layer with the remaining fennel.

Top with the remaining mozzarella, add the Parmigiano cheese and finish with chopped spring onions.

The casserole ready for baking.

Cover the dish with foil and bake at 375°F (190°C) for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking from another 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese starts to brown.

Make It Ahead

You can make this baked fennel casserole 2-3 days before and bake later. Just cover the dish with cling film and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it. Proceed as indicated in the recipe for baking it.

How To Store

Place leftovers in a sealed container and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven. You can also freeze the dish for up to 2 months.

How To Serve

You can serve baked fennel as a simple and healthy dish with a nice whole grain bread loaf. Or serve as a side dish with your favourites main dishes, we recommend Chicken Valdostana, Roast Veal Roll or Stuffed Veal with Mushrooms.

Baked Fennel With Mozzarella and Tomato Sauce

2
A baked fennel casserole with mozzarella and tomato sauce so easy to make, yet so delicious!
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, stalks removed. about 400-500 gr
  • 4 oz fresh Mozzarella cheese cut into small cubes
  • 1 Tbsp Parmigiano cheese grated
  • 1 spring onion chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce, unseasoned about 7 oz/ 200 gr
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • salt and pepper

Instructions
 

  • In a saucepan, over medium heat, sauté the garlic with extra virgin olive oil for half a minute to release its aroma. Add the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper.
  • Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes taking. Adjust with salt and pepper then discard the garlic and set aside.
  • Cut the stalks and fronds off the fennel then cut the bulbs into think slices. Discard carefully the core.
  • Cook fennel for about 2-3 minutes in salted boiling water (or you can also steam it).
  • Place fennel onto a bowl and add the tomate sauce. Coat evenly.
  • Grease a small casserole or gratin pan with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and place half of the fennel mixture.
  • Add ⅓ of the mozzarella cheese and then add a layer with the remaining fennel.
  • Top with the remaining mozzarella, add the Parmigiano cheese and finish with spring onions.
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake at 375°F (190°C) for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking from another 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese starts to brown.
Course side dish
Cuisine italian

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