Spaghetti with Fennel in Peanut Sesame Sauce

As mentioned in a previous post, I've been hooked on a peanut sauce consisting of a really good, crunchy, organic peanut butter, paired with soy sauce and a squeeze of lemon. You can actually substitute the lemon juice with a similar citrus (like lime), or a nice, flavorful vinegar --apple cider, champagne, coconut or rice vinegar come to mind.

I recently picked up a beautiful fennel bulb (with fronds) at the farmer's market, and thought I might try pairing it with pasta and the addictive peanut sauce. Only this time I added lightly ground, roasted sesame seeds to the mix, and used apple cider vinegar for the peanut sauce, instead of my usual lemon juice. Oh my.... superb!

Spaghetti with Fennel in Peanut Sesame Sauce
(makes 1 generous serve)
- 1 serving spaghetti (if dried, cook till they give a nice toothiness, but not too al dente)
- 3/4 cup fennel bulb, shaved or sliced thin (I used a mandoline)
- 1/2 handful fennel, fronds chopped
- sliced scallions
- 1 Tbs sesame seeds, toasted then lightly ground in a mortar & pestle
- peanut sauce, to your taste (recipe here)
- salt for boiling water
- a dash of oil to toss with cooked pasta
- ground black or white pepper to taste

Cook your dried spaghetti according to box directions. Note: you are looking for a toothy texture to the noodles, but not too al dente since you are not further cooking the pasta with the sauce.

Prepare the veggies and crushed sesame seeds and set aside. When pasta is done, reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Drain spaghetti, toss with all the ingredients, and add a spoon, or two, of the cooking water to help amalgamate the ingredients. You can eat this straight away, but I'd recommend waiting till it cools to warm, or room temperature --the flavors become more pronounced. Enjoy!

p.s. Excuse my messy chopstick styling. I was trying to shoot with my left hand, with a chopstick-full of pasta on the right. Hello, a tripod is def in order.

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