Italian chicken with fennel and rosemary


  • Prep Time10 mins
  • Total Time10 mins
  • Makes6 servings
*PLUS Cooking time: 8 minutes, Baking Time: 30 minutes
Italian chicken with fennel and rosemary

© Royalty-Free/Masterfile


  • 1 large onion, or 1/2 cup chopped frozen onion

  • 1 fennel bulb

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 250-g pkg sliced button mushrooms, about 4 cups

  • 750-mL jar or 3 cups of your favourite pasta sauce

  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves, or 1 tsp dried rosemary

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tsp Pernod, or 1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

  • freshly grated parmesan, optional


  • Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Coarsely chop fresh onion, if using. Slice off green stalks from fennel. Discard or save for stock. Stand fennel, base down, on a cutting board. Slice vertically into 1/3-inch (0.8-cm) slices. Cut off core end and remove any core from middle of slices. Separate fennel into strips. Slice any large whole pieces into thin strips.

  • Heat oil in a large, wide ovenproof saucepan set over medium heat. Add onion, fennel and mushrooms. Stir frequently until onions are soft, from 5 to 6 minutes.

  • Pour in pasta sauce, then stir in rosemary, salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up brown bits from bottom of pan. Stir often until mixture comes to a boil. Taste, then add more rosemary, if needed. Stir in Pernod or fennel seeds, if using.

  • Submerge chicken breasts in sauce. Cover saucepan and place in centre of 350F (180C) oven. Bake chicken, turning halfway through, until it feels springy when pressed, from 30 to 35 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Spoon sauce over spaghetti or rice. Top with chicken, then generously sprinkle Parmesan, if using, overtop. Leftovers will keep well, covered and refrigerated, up to 3 days.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories 269, Protein 33.5g, Carbohydrates 16.7g, Fat 7.2g, Fibre 4.2g, Sodium 795mg.

Chicken stays moist when simmered in a flavourful tomato sauce with hints of sweet fennel and earthy rosemary. Use a package of sliced mushrooms to reduce preparation time.

This sauce is also great without chicken. Prepare to Step 3, then cover and simmer gently to blend flavours, about 15 minutes. Serve over pasta with feta cheese.