Spaghettini with Shrimp, Fresh Fennel and Tomatoes

Spaghettini ai Gamberi e Finocchio

Fennel, which has a distinctive anise flavor when raw, becomes quite mild when cooked and pairs wonderfully with seafood. Use only fresh tomatoes, even if they are not at their peak, to keep a light fresh flavor.

Total Time from Start to Finish: 1 hour


  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic. finely chopped
  • 3 cups fresh fennel, tops removed and cut into very thin lengthwise slices
  • Salt
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, and ½-inch diced
  • 1 pound spaghettini
  • 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, chopped or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 12 ounces large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Put 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and garlic in a 12-inch skillet and place over medium high heat. Sauté until the garlic begins to sizzle then add the fennel, season with salt, stir until it well coated with the oil, and add about ¼ cup of water. Turn the heat down to medium low, cover the pan, and cook until the fennel is very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, cover, and place over high heat.
  3. Uncover the pan with the fennel, raise the heat to medium high and allow any water that is in the pan to evaporate. Add the tomatoes and cook until the liquid they release has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling pasta water, add the spaghettini, and stir until all the strands are submerged. Cook until al dente.
  5. Add the marjoram and the shrimp to the sauce. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the shrimp have turned pink. Remove from the heat.
  6. When the pasta is done, drain well, toss with the sauce and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and serve at once.

Also good with: