- 1/4 cup EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 bulbs fennel, trimmed, quartered, cored and finely chopped
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup Pernod or white wine
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 can San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Acacia honey
- 1 cup passata or tomato sauce
- 1 pound pici or bucatini
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Grated Parmigaino-Reggiano
- Torn basil, to serve
Heat a large pan over medium heat with EVOO, 4 turns of the pan. Add the fennel, onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook to soften and very lightly caramelize, 20-25 minutes. Add Pernod or white wine, stock and tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Add honey and passata or sauce, and bring to a bubble. Reduce heat a bit and simmer 30-40 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta, salt water and undercook the pasta 1 minute less than package directions.
Purée sauce with an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor. Return to low heat and add cream to sauce.
Reserve 1/2 cup starchy cooking water before draining pasta. Toss pasta with the sauce, reserved cooking water, cheese and more EVOO to your taste.
Serve in shallow bowls with a few leaves of torn basil on top.