extra virgin olive oil
750g gnocchi
sea salt and black pepper
2 baby fennel bulbs (about 375g) or 1 regular fennel bulb (about 350g), finely sliced
¾–1 cup Fennel-frond Pesto (see recipe)
1 handful grated parmesan, pecorino or cheddar

Here is a lovely double fennel salad, a wonderful way to show how we can create an entire meal around one vegetable: crunchy shaved raw fennel is slathered in fennel-frond pesto and tossed with crispy morsels of pan-fried gnocchi. This salad shows how anise flavours can be layered without overthrowing the other ingredients or dominating the overall dish. This is an adaptable recipe, too – add some roasted broccoli or cauliflower, incorporate a leafy green, such as baby spinach or watercress, or substitute the gnocchi with a filled pasta like tortellini or ravioli. You could also use a short pasta shape in place of the gnocchi. You can use either vacuum- sealed or frozen gnocchi – if using frozen, don’t thaw it first! I like to use baby fennel in this salad because they are sweeter and more tender, but regular fennel works just fine.

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1.Place a large frying pan over medium–high heat.
2.When hot, drizzle with 2–3 tablespoons of olive oil, add the gnocchi and season with a pinch of sea salt.
3.Pan-fry for 3–4 minutes, tossing the gnocchi often, until golden on both sides.
4.Transfer the gnocchi to a large serving plate, add the fennel and fennel-frond pesto and toss until well coated.
5.Serve with a handful of grated cheese on top.

This is an edited extract
by Hetty Lui McKinnon,

Macmillan Publishers,

RRP $69.99. Food

photography by Hetty

Lui McKinnon, author

photo by Shirley Cai.