BRAISED FENNEL IN TOMATO SAUCE
Andre absolutely loves fennel. He snacks on it raw and will always order it if he sees it on a menu. This fennel dish was first discovered in a cooking class we took from Evan Kleiman at The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories and we have been making it ever since. There is a rich heartiness to this braised fennel and tomato that is surprising and will make both meat-eaters and vegetarians very happy and very satisfied. Serve it alongside fresh bread or a crostini topped with ricotta to help you get every last bit of sauce from the plate. It’s absolutely delicious.
4 large fennel bulbs, tops and fronds removed, tough exterior layers removed, quartered
1 quart basic tomato sauce, more if necessary
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
fresh italian parsley leaves
Pour tomato sauce over the fennel just to cover it. Place parchment paper over the pan, and then cover with a lid. Cook over medium-low heat for 45-60 minutes, or until fennel is soft to the bite. If the sauce reduces too much, add more sauce or add some water to the pan. Continuously check the pan and move the fennel around slightly, as you don’t want the sauce or fennel to burn in any places. Once the fennel is cooked, taste for seasoning. Add sea salt and black pepper as necessary.