1quarttomato sauceseeded, crushed tomatoes or chopped fresh tomatoes
2tablespoonsfennel fronds or mint,chopped
Parmesan,pecorino or mizythra cheese to garnish
Tip: If you don't want to, or don't think you can, mince the onion and fennel bulb very small, roughly chop them and pulse in a food processor until they are very well chopped, but not a puree.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a wide, deep pan or a large pot. When the oil is hot, add the fennel and onion and sweat them slowly until they are very soft, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle some salt over everything while they are cooking. Stir occasionally, and don't let the vegetables brown -- turn down the heat if you need to. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
Stir in the tomato paste and cook this for another few minutes.
Kick the heat up to medium high, and pour in the ouzo. Let this boil until it is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Taste for salt and add some if needed. Let this simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Optional Step:The following is optional, but makes a better sauce for long pasta like spaghetti. Pour the sauce into a blender or food processor and puree. If you are going to serve this sauce with short pasta, like penne or bowties, you can skip this step.
Right before you serve, stir in the fennel fronds or mint. Serve with grated cheese and a light red wine like a Sangiovese or a Grenache.
NOTE: For timing, start your hot water for the pasta right when you begin making this sauce. By the time it boils, you'll be ready to cook your pasta.