The smaller fennel bulbs at our farmers markets tend to have a more pronounced licorice flavor that pairs nicely with the tang of good tomatoes.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until it's tender but still firm.
Serve the sauce over the pasta, and sprinkle with Parmesan, parsley, and basil.
Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat, and add the onion, fennel, garlic, thyme, fennel seeds, and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the white wine and the tomatoes, reduce the heat, and simmer until the tomatoes are very soft and the liquid is reduced by about half. If the sauce begins to look dry, add a little of the pasta cooking water. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
Reprinted from Minnesota's Bounty: The Farmers Market Cookbook by Beth Dooley. Copyright © 2013 University of Minnesota Press.
"My mother taught me that food was fuel," says writer Elissa Altman. "That food was dangerous. That food was the enemy." As Altman's mother grows older, Altman is finding it difficult to get her to eat.