4 to 6 as a side
Fennel is a deliciously unique vegetable, crunchy when raw and mellow and sweet when braised or roasted.
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pot
- 4 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed
- One 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand or passed through a food mill
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups shredded low-moisture mozzarella
- 1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the whole fennel bulbs, and boil until just tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, cool, and slice 1 inch thick. Pat very dry on kitchen towels.
In a large bowl, stir together the crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, and ½ cup water. In another large bowl, toss together the cheeses.
Spread a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer in the sliced fennel, and top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Cover with foil, and bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes. Uncover, and bake until the sauce is thickened and the cheese is browned, about 20 minutes more.