pesto al finocchietto selvatico pasta

This is a Sicilian specialty we found by chance on the 6th floor of the Rome Piazza Fiume high end department store La Rinascente where they have a small high end food and wine shop. (7th floor American, but that is another story.) Since we are always on the lookout for new pasta sauces with interesting ingredients, we were immediately intrigued by this wild fennel pesto sauce at 6.5 Euros for a medium sized (160gm) jar. We tried it out and were pleasantly surprised, and then proceeded to gift jars to friends to allow them to discover this subtley flavored pasta finisher, preparing it for the fortunate few we were able to invite to dinner at our rented summer apartment.

Later we found a cheaper brand in several other Rome locations, but you sometimes get what you pay for, and the Scyamura brand seemed to rise above its competitors, though we never did a side by side comparison. After our second or third summer we managed to actually bring some back with us to share at home in the USA. Last minute obligations don't always make time for frivolous food shopping. Of course there is always the duty free shopping at Fiumicino airport, but the prices are always inflated, and you take what you find, not what you wish you could find.

For our first US experience, we used some Bionaturae organic fettuccine, 2 packages for about a lb of pasta, for 4 people, 1.5 packages would have sufficed. Just pasta and salad so bob ate too much of course. Making that leftover Costco chocolate mousse cake just a bit harder to wolf down after dinner. bob made the sacrifice.


1 lb (500 g) of mezzi rigatoni or fettuccine
2 T extra virgin olive oil
black pepper
reserved pasta water
2-3 T butter
1/2 c freshly grated parmigiano
  • instructions

    1. Do the boiling pasta water, salted pasta cooking thing.
    2. Meanwhile heat on very low heat the olive oil pesto and black pepper in a nonstick chef's pan so it is slightly warmed.
    3. Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of pasta water.
    4. Combine the pasta with the sauce and cut in slices of the butter to add creaminess to the sauce as you mix them together.
    5.  Add pasta water as needed (judgement call), then finally the parmigiano.


    1. A Sicilian product Scyavuru Pesto al Finocchietto Selvatico. 160g.
      extra virgin olive oil, finocchietto selvatico, sun dried tomatoes, onions, pine nuts, passolina (special Sicilian raisins, sultanina, made from pale green grapes), capers, white wine, garlic, black pepper, red pepper flakes.
    2. Another cheaper brand at Sapor d'olio on via Po nearby, the Agrestis Pesto di Siciliano al Finocchietto Selvatico 200g: finocchietto, cherry tomatoes, olio virgin olive il, pine nuts, sultanina raisins.
    3. A third Sicilian brand Genesis, Pesto al Finocchietto Selvatico: 4.90 Euros for 200g, extra virgin olive oil, finocchietto selvatico, almonds, anchovies, white wine, sea salt. Origin unknown.
    4. We found Seggiano Sicilian Wild Fennel Tomato Pesto at Whole Foods for an overpriced 10 bucks, 220g (7oz). Still have't tried it yet.
    5. Illustrations available.
    pastfinoccchietto.htm: 6-oct-2017 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]