|2 teaspoons||Garlic; minced|
|¼ teaspoon||Crushed red pepper|
|1||Fennel bulb (approx 1-1/2 cups); diced|
|1||Orange (zest only)|
|Salt and pepper|
|¼ cup||Cream (optional)|
1. Get a large pot of salted water going for the pasta.
2. Gently saute the onion in a little oil until it softens, then add the garlic and crushed red peppers. Cook another few minutes, but don't let the garlic brown.
3. Add the fennel and stir. Cover and sweat until the fennel softens, about 10 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes and orange zest. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, then salt and pepper to taste. (If you're using cream, stir it in after about 10 minutes, then let the sauce continue to simmer another 5 minutes or so.)
5. Give the sauce a 5 or 10 minute head start, then cook the pasta.
When it's done, drain and combine the pasta and sauce in the large pot. Stir to coat the pasta evenly and let it cook a moment so the spaghetti absorbs a little of the sauce. Then dump it into a serving bowl, scatter parsley over all, and serve.
Note on Fennel: It's sometimes marketed as anise. The bulb is the best part. Standard procrdure for fennel is to whack off the stalks, quarter the bulb lengthwise and cut out the base like you would for cabbage. At that point it's ready for slicing or dicing.
Having said the bulb is the best part, I should say that there's nothing wrong with the stalks. in fact, if you were stuck with a small bulb, you can dice a stalk and use it in this recipe. The major difference is that the stalks are more fibrous, like celery.
Actually, the stalks are pretty good to eat raw instead of celery (provided you like licorice).
Contributor: Patricia Wells at Home in Provence Preparation Time: 45:00
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