Whole-Wheat Pasta with Fennel, Peas and Arugula

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August 2, 2011 | Issue 359

Make a Whole Meal

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Fennel, Peas and Arugula

Pasta is a great stand-by dinner for busy nights, and you can make it a healthy dish by simply using a whole-wheat version and topping it with seasonal veggies. A favorite combination includes fennel, baby peas (fresh or frozen) and arugula, brightened with a touch of lemon. Sautéeing the veggies just enough to keep the fennel crisp-tender, then spooning them over whole-wheat or farro pasta makes a perfect summer supper. Consistent studies suggest that whole grains may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 350 calories, 10 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 58 g carbohydrate,
14 g protein, 13 g dietary fiber, 290 mg sodium.

  • 1 fennel bulb, about 1¼ lbs.
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat or farro spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, cut into 1/2inch crescents
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen baby green peas
  • 1½ cups arugula, cut crosswise in 3/4inch strips
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 8 tsp. grated pecorino cheese
  • 4 large basil leaves


  1. Cut top off fennel, eliminating fronds and stalks, and slice off bottom. Remove toughest one or two outer layers. Cut remaining bulb crosswise into thin slices. Remove hard, round core from each slice, then cut slice crosswise to make long strips. Set fennel aside.
  2. In large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions and drain in colander.
  3. While pasta cooks, heat oil in medium skillet with cover, over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook 2 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and cook until onions are just translucent, about 2 minutes. Mix in fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Pour in broth, cover, and cook vegetables for 2 minutes to start tenderizing them. Uncover, add green peas, and cook until fennel is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Mix in arugula until bright green and wilted, about 1 minute. Mix in lemon juice. Off heat, season vegetables to taste with salt and generous amounts of pepper.
  4. Divide pasta among 4 wide, shallow bowls or deep plates. Spoon one-fourth of topping over each serving, including liquid from pan. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons cheese over each serving. Stack basil leaves, roll them lengthwise into a thin cigar, then cut roll crosswise, using a sharp knife to make thin strips. Sprinkle basil over pasta and serve immediately.

Grocery list

Whole-wheat spaghetti
Extra virgin olive oil
Red onion
Fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
Baby green peas
Lemon juice
Salt and ground black pepper
Pecorino cheese
Basil leaves

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Did You Know?

Whole grains are cereal grains that contain cereal germ, endosperm, and bran, in contrast to refined grains, which retain only the endosperm.

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