Fennel Parmigiana | Finocchio Parmigiana

You may be familiar with the Southern Italian dish melanzane parmigiana which uses eggplant / aubergine. I am having a love hate relationship with aubergine at present. I think it has to do with the fact that for the past 6 months or so I have been buying baby aubergines. They look very pretty but I think the skin to flesh ratio is just not right for me. I don’t like the texture of the skin unless it is in a caponata and I prefer the texture of the flesh when made into a baba ganoush. I tried making a melanzane parmigiana and after the first bite I decided I would make the dish again using fennel instead. Fennel and tomato is a match made in heaven and I loved the texture that the fennel had when cooked in this way. I know a lot of people do not like the aniseed / licorice taste of fennel but I am slightly addicted to it. My go to spice is star anise so knowing that, I should have known that I would love the fennel parmigiana. You can make this like I did in small cocottes for individual portions, or you could make a large dish to serve as a side. Either way, I am sure you will enjoy my version of this classic dish.

are you a fan of fennel?

Finocchio | Fennel Parmigiana
Finocchio Parmigiana
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Finocchio | Fennel Parmigiana Recipe

Recipe Category: Vegetarian
Makes enough for: 2 people
All Rights Reserved: An original recipe from Lavender and Lime


  • 15 mls olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 500 g tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1.25 mls fructose
  • 15 mls red wine vinegar
  • 125 mls vegetable stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 30 mls chopped fennel fronds
  • 5 g butter
  • 1 large fennel bulb, sliced
  • 15 mls white wine
  • Parmesan cheese for grating


  • Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan
  • Sauté the onions and garlic until soft
  • Add the tomatoes, fructose, vinegar and stock
  • Season to taste and simmer until the tomatoes are soft
  • Add the fennel fronds and cook for 5 minutes
  • Remove from the pan and set aside to cool
  • Heat the butter in the pan and add the fennel
  • Deglaze with the white wine and cook until the fennel is soft
  • Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
  • In an ovenproof dish, layer the tomatoes and the fennel, ending with tomatoes
  • Top with grated Parmesan cheese
  • Bake for 20 minutes and serve hot

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37 thoughts on “Fennel Parmigiana | Finocchio Parmigiana

  1. I love this recipe and fennel is on the shopping list for tomorrow. Love eggplant too and have used both large and small: had never thought of the skin/flesh ratio, but think I agree with you: I normally do keep the skin on. It took me a long time to ‘like’ fennel because of its specific taste: now very much like it in fennel/orange/mint etc salads, braises and stirfries. Have never even thought to make it your way but can’t wait to try!!!!

  2. I love fennel and use it in salads: thin slices of raw fennel matched with grapefruit filets, roasted pine nuts – delicious!

  3. Interesting – I’ve never had fennel baked with tomato before, only as a gratin which is also good. I do like fennel but never see it in the shops out our way. i used to love it in salads when I was working in Italy.

  4. Great idea! I love parmigiana but Big Man is not so keen on aubergines but we both love that anis flavour of fennel. Does it become tender when cooked for only 20 mins?

  5. I love fennel. My favourite way to cook it is to simply braise it in a little chicken stock and then sprinkle in some parmesan at the end although I did make a delicious fennel gratin the other day too. Your fennel dish looks amazing. One for me to try.

  6. I tend to go back and forth on whether or not I like fennel..but covered in cheese, I think I could become a hard and fast fan!

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