I have a hit and miss relationship with fennel. Some of it just has too strong of a licorice flavor for my liking. When making this recipe I found the cooking method made the fennel sweet and the tomatoes brightened the dish up.
- 1 lb. plum tomatoes
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bulb fennel, cut into matchsticks
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 3 fresno chiles, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 lb. spaghetti
- 2 tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup toasted bread crumbs
Heat oven to 250˚. Core and halve tomatoes lengthwise; scoop out seeds. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, 1 tbsp. oil, sugar, salt, and pepper; toss. Arrange tomatoes, cut side down, on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet; roast until very soft, about 3 hours.
Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel; brown for 10 minutes. Add onion; cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add chiles; cook for 2 minutes. Chop and add tomatoes; set skillet aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes. Strain, reserving 1⁄2 cup pasta water. Add pasta and its water to tomato mixture; toss. Put skillet over high heat; add parsley and remaining oil; cook for 2–3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with grated bottarga and bread crumbs.