Shrimp and Fennel With Pasta Shells

READY IN: 20mins




  • In a large pot bring water to a boil. If you have them handy, toss in a few shrimp shells to flavor the water. Be sure to remove them before putting in the pasta.
  • Cook pasta according to manufacturer's directions.
  • Remove & drain cooked pasta from water with slotted spoon, reserving about 2 cups of liquid.
  • Bring another pot of water to boil to blanch the fennel.
  • While the water is heating, cut the greens off the fennel, remove the tough outer layer and quarter the bulbs. Keep the greens.
  • Blanche fennel for 30-seconds to 1 minute in boiling water.
  • Finely chop the leafy greens for use as a garnish.
  • Slice blanched fennel bulb to pieces about the same size as the shrimp.
  • In a large sauté pan heat olive oil over med-high heat.
  • Slice/dice/crush garlic & sauté in hot oil (the finer the garlic, the stronger the flavor. For very mild flavor, slice the garlic thick & remove before adding any other ingredients).
  • Add shrimp and some pepper flakes to pan. Cook shrimp in oil, about 1 minute each side.
  • Remove shrimp from pan.
  • Add fennel pieces to pan, and sauté for 1-2 minutes with pepper flakes to taste.
  • Reduce heat to med and add pasta to pan, along with 1 1/2 cup of pasta water. The pasta water will form a creamy sauce.
  • Stir while cooking about 2 minutes. If sauce cooks down too quickly or is not enough, add more pasta water.
  • Add salt and pepper flakes to taste.
  • Add shrimp back & stir to evenly coat with sauce.
  • Just before serving toss in about 2 tablespoons of chopped fennel greens and parmesan cheese. Make any final salt/pepper adjustments.
  • Serve garnished with additional fennel greens.