If you've never tried fennel, but want to, this is the dish for you. This makes a wonderful side course to roast meats, or it could be served as a first course with crusty bread to dab at the sauce.
- Wash the fennel, strip away the outer layer of leaves if they're tough, slice the bulbs into thin wedges, and boil them for 10 minutes in salted water.
- Drain them well and sauté them in the butter, adding the milk a few tablespoons at a time, and once you have added it all simmer for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the béchamel sauce and preheat oven to 400F.
- Butter an oven-proof dish, and when the fennel is done simmering transfer it to the dish.
- Dust the fennel with the grated cheese, pour the béchamel sauce over it, and bake the fennel for 20 minutes, or until it is lightly browned.