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Roasted Carrots and Fennel

from Umbria by Julia Della Croce
Roasted Carrots and Fennel

3 pounds carrots, peeled and ends trimmed off
3 fennel bulbs
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus oil for drizzling

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by Julia Della Croce from Chronicle Books

I learned this method of roasting carrots from the chef of the sumptuous Belais Todini outside of Todi. where all kinds of vegetables are cooked on a huge open grill in the kitchen, which is visible through massive glass windows from the dining room. By spraying the carrots regularly with water as they roast, they cook to tenderness without burning, becoming a beautiful gilt orange. Prepared this way, the vegetables retain all of their sweetness and juices.

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and then again crosswise. Trim the dark green stalks off the fennel bulbs, reserving them and the fennel fronds for another use. Now slice off the tough bottom of each bulb, and quarter the bulb lengthwise. Cut out the tough inner core from each quarter. Select 3 baking sheets and line them with aluminum foil, shinyside up. Oil each of the foil-lined pans with itablespoon of the olive oil. Place the carrots in a single layer on two of the baking sheets and the fennel quarters on the third sheet. Drizzle or brush enough additional olive oil on the carrots and fennel to ensure they are lubricated without over-oiling. Using a mister, spray the carrots generously with water.

Put the pans holding the carrots into the oven and roast the vegetables for 30 minutes, spraying every 5 to 10 minutes with water. Now slide the baking sheet with the fennel into the oven to roast along with the carrots. Continue to spray the carrots but not the fennel. The carrots should be tender in about 1 hour total, while the fennel should take 20 to 30 minutes. Serve the carrots and fennel together, hot or warm.

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