Fennel Seed Crust

Cara Mangini

Little Eater Restaurant and Grocery Store, Columbus, OH

This crust is the base for Cara Mangini's Swiss Chard Crostata, and as she says: "the olive oil, parmesan, and toasted fennel seed crust is the best thing you could imagine to enwrap the garlicky chard and deliver its earthy sweetness."


  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Up to 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water


Toast the fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, continuously stirring or shaking the pan, until the seeds are golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let them cool.

In a food processor or large bowl, briefly pulse or stir together the fennel seeds, flour, salt, and parmesan until just incorporated. Add the olive oil and blend or stir to combine. While the processor is running, or while stirring, pour in 1/2 cup of the ice water (without the ice), then add more as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough just begins to form a ball. It should be wet and smooth, but should not stick to your fingers.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured board for about 30 seconds until it comes together fully. If it pulls apart at all or is dry and tough, place it back in the food processor or bowl, add up to 2 tablespoons more water, and blend or stir until it is just incorporated. Flatten the ball of dough just slightly and wrap it in plastic wrap; let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day in advance of assembling the crostata.

Excerpted  from The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2016. Photographs by Matthew Benson.


One 15-Inch Round of Dough