Fennel with Tomato Sauce

( “Finocchio con Salsa di Pomodoro”  )
( “Finocchi cu Sucu”)

 

 

An exquisite contorno,  side dish, which pairs well with lamb or pork dishes.

 

Serves 5

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 fennels
  • 2 medium size onions, thickly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 can 28 oz. imported Italian peeled tomato
  • 1 can 4 oz. tomato paste diluted in 1 and ½ cups of water
  • 5 basil leaves
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of your preferred grated cheese

 

 

Preparation

The Fennel
To prepare fennels for cooking, trim, cut base, discard rough outer leaves and stalks. Eliminate any wilted or bruised part.
Set on the side the tender green leaves attached in the center of the white bulbous part, to be used as garnish or to flavor other recipes.
Cut each fennel vertically into 8 pieces, wash carefully and place in a colander to drain.

The Cooking
Combine the olive oil and the onions in a 6 quart saucepan and place over a medium heat. When the onions turn translucent, add the fennels, salt and pepper to taste; bring to a high heat and sauté for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste diluted in water and cook a few minutes after it returns to boil.
Add the peeled tomatoes after you have either pureed in a blender or squashed with you hands (if you want to remove the seeds place tomatoes in a vegetable mill and strain it). 
Taste the sauce and add the basil, salt and pepper.
Keep over high heat for a few minutes and when it returns to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.

The Serving 
Pour the fennel in sauce into a serving dish, garnish with some of the fennel’s tender green leaves and serve hot with cheese on the side.