Tomato and Fennel Soup
2 TBSP canola oil
6 plum tomatoes, cored
1/2 TBSP sugar
1/4 c Pernod
2 TBSP olive oil
3 medium fennel bulbs—halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c garlic, peeled
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
One 28-ounce can whole Italian peeled tomatoes, crushed
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a large medium pan, heat the canola oil until nearly smoking. Add the plum tomatoes and sugar and season with salt. Cook over moderately high heat, turning, until the tomatoes are lightly charred and starting to burst, about 10 minutes.
Add the Pernod and cook over moderately low heat, breaking up the tomatoes, until a chunky sauce forms, about 20 minutes.
In a saucepan, heat olive oil. Add the fennel, shallots, garlic, fennel seeds, oregano, crushed red pepper and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper.
Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the fennel starts to soften, 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until the fennel is very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, puree the tomato and fennel
Soup until smooth. Stir the tomato sauce into the saucepan along with the vinegar. Cook over moderately low heat until heated through and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with shaved cheese.