Aired March 1, 2012
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 Fresno chili pepper, thinly sliced with seeds or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 cubanelle peppers, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
1 28- to 32-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
1 pound pici, bucatini, perciatelle or spaghetti
Pecorino cheese, grated, for topping
Heat EVOO, 4 turns of the pan, in a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add fennel, chili and garlic, and stir 3-4 minutes. Add onions and peppers, season with salt, stir and cook 5-6 minutes more, partially covered. Stir in tomato paste until fragrant, 1 minute, then add wine and reduce a minute or so. Add tomatoes and break them up with a potato masher. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, partially covered.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt and cook pasta to al dente. Just before draining, reserve half a mug of starchy water.
Drain pasta, combine with sauce and add a little starchy cooking water as needed.
Serve pasta in shallow bowls topped with cheese.