Finocchi Brasati

Braised Fennel

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Classic Italian Cooking

Classic Italian Cooking

By Valentina Harris

Published 2008

  • About

Fennel is used a great deal in Italian cooking, either raw or cooked, in soups, risotto, and salads or as an accompanying vegetable. Here is the simplest and most classic way of serving it cooked as a side vegetable. Fennel is one of the easiest vegetables to select by gender. The female, which is much sleeker and sinuous than the stocky, stubby male, has a much stronger liquorice taste. In Italy, fennel is always selected according to its gender and while the female is considered suitable for salads, only the male is ever used for cooking.


  • 6 fennel bulbs, trimmed
  • tablespoons unsalted butter
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Using a sharp knife, quarter the fennel bulbs. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the fennel and boil for about 6 minutes, or until just tender. Drain thoroughly.
  2. Melt the butter in a wide skillet. Add the fennel quarters, season with salt and pepper, and baste with the butter, adding enough water to prevent them from burning.
  3. Cover and continue to cook through, turning them frequently so that they brown slightly on all sides. Serve hot, sprinkled with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

To Serve

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Serving Suggestion

Alternatively, cover the fennel completely in grated cheese then place under a preheated broiler until browned. Serve immediately.