- Course: Main Course
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Moderate
- Favorited: 35 Times
I can’t deny my Italian-American heritage: to me, pasta just isn’t pasta without a red tomato sauce. Here, I created a bright-tasting, anise-flavored tomato sauce thin enough to run through the holes of the bucatini pasta. If you want to attack this dish the way my family would, skip the knife. Yes, the long, unruly pasta will flail around and lash you in the face, but that’s the fun of eating bucatini!
- Salt to taste
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch squares
- Ground pepper to taste
- 2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch batons
- Pinch saffron threads
- 1 tablespoon ground anise seed
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 cup white wine
- One 28-ounce can plum tomatoes
- 12 ounces bucatini (spaghetti-length tubes) or spaghetti
- Fresh basil leaves to yield 2 tablespoons when chopped, held whole
- ½ cup ricotta cheese, at room temperature
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt heavily.
2. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add fennel, season, stir to coat, cover pan, and cook for 2 minutes. Add zucchini to pan, season, stir, cover, and cook just until no longer crunchy, about 2 minutes. Crumble in saffron and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add anise seed and cook until anise is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in vinegar, increase heat to medium high, and cook until very little liquid is left. Pour in white wine and cook until reduced by half. Add tomatoes: with their juices, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to help break up the tomatoes while they are cooking.
3. Meanwhile cook pasta to al dente or desired doneness. Drain and set aside.
4. Taste sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat. Quickly slice basil and stir 2 tablespoons of it into the sauce along with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Dump pasta into sauce and toss.
5. Divide pasta among 4 plates and top each serving with some ricotta cheese. Serve hot.
© 2003 Spirit Media, LLC
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving.