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Roasted Fennel With Breadcrumbs

Roasted fennel becomes a savory, caramelized side dish in this recipe that pairs the flavorful, bulbous vegetable with breadcrumbs and cheese.

Roasted fennel with breadcrumbs

Roasted fennel with breadcrumbs.

This recipe is part of Appetito contributor Chiara Montalto Giannini's series on food and drink to make during the bridge between spring and winter. For this Roasted Fennel with Breadcrumbs recipe, she roasts the finocchio, as it's known in Italian, with breadcrumbs and cheese.

The other recipes in the series are: Peperonata | Radicchio Risotto |
Orange and Pomegranate Non-Alcoholic Spritz | Escarole Salad With Endive and Radicchio

When I was growing up, fennel, the bulbous vegetable that tastes like licorice, was only served raw, after a big meal. A small bowl with slices of fennel in a little water would be placed on the table as a digestive. I never much cared for it. 
When you roast fennel, that strong licorice flavor mellows into this sweet, incredible taste. The longer you roast it the better. When you make this combination of toasted breadcrumbs and cheese with the roasted fennel, you’ve got a delicious, caramelized contorno. I particularly like this as a side to chicken or fish.

Roasted Fennel With Breadcrumbs

Roasted Fennel With Breadcrumbs

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Recipe by Chiara Montalto Giannini


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 1 fennel bulb, cut into pieces

  • 1 cup 1 toasted breadcrumbs (see note)

  • 2 2 -3 cloves garlic

  • Pinch parsley

  • Pinch oregano or sage (optional)

  • Salt and Pepper

  • Pecorino Romano

  • Parmigiano

  • Extra Virgin Olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Cut fennel into large-ish strips, and remove core; it doesn’t need to be perfect.
  • Place into a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper and a good amount of olive oil.
  • Season the breadcrumbs with salt, pepper and parsley, and/or sage and oregano, if using. (I prefer this as simple as possible)
  • Toss breadcrumbs into fennel to coat evenly.
  • Transfer to oven-proof dish
  • Drizzle with olive oil
  • Top with Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Bake for 35- 40 minutes, till golden and caramelized.


  • To make the toasted breadcrumbs, use 1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs Put the breadcrumbs in a cast iron frying pan. Toast over a very low flame until golden, stirring constantly.
  • You can toast a whole bag of breadcrumbs and then store them in a zip-top bag in your freezer.

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