This gorgeous vegetarian dish tastes far more luxurious and complicated than it actually is. Great served alongside roasted meats or by itself, this is a dish that I often make as part of a Sunday roast.
This is very much a classic dish of Tuscan origins – Tuscans might be more inclined to add a grating of parmesan at the end (which is delicious and I encourage!) and probably less inclined to use French Pastis.
Pastis has a wonderful anise flavour that matches fennel perfectly, but you could use any anise-flavoured liquor such as Ouzo, Raki or Arak. The alcohol also helps to deglaze the pan after braising the fennel so you don’t lose any of the delicious caramelisation. If you don’t drink alcohol however you can skip this ingredient entirely and it won’t affect the final taste too much.