How do you Shizzies use fennel? I bought a big-ass root with all the pretty fronds, but I'm not sure what i want to do with it. I love the seeds, but I've never cooked with the plant!
Pingo: I love using tomato paste in addition to fresh tomatoes when I make sauce. A faster/easier way that takes less time to type is this:
1 can tomato paste
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 buttload of garlic, crushed. Maybe 5 fat cloves, plus however much more you think it needs later!
1 small onion, or like 1/2 a medium onion, diced
1/4 bunch of parsley, with stems!
Some basil and oregano, if you have it
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
Some red wine- I don't measure it, but I'd start with 1/2 cup. I prefer Chianti for pasta sauce, but all the reds I've used worked well!
A little olive oil
Soften the onion with the olive oil in a pan, and while that's going on, throw the stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, oregano, and some of your basil in a blender. Blend until not-chunky.
Onions all nice and tender, like a lover's goodnight kiss, pour your tomato mess into that pan! Reserve some garlic and basil until later, and throw everything else into that beautiful, sauce-y pan! Heat it until it starts bubblin', then let it simmer for at least 30 minutes.Then add the garlic and basil you saved from earlier.
It'll thicken up. If it gets too thick, add some of the water from your pasta after you cook it.
I freaking love mushrooms and zucchini, and I use them almost every time I make pasta sauce, but I don't know if you like them. If you do, throw the mushrooms in when you are sweating the onions, and throw the squash in near the end, but before you add the garlic and basil.