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Roasted Fennel Marinara Sauce

I make large batches of this sauce and freeze it in pint sized containers for quick and easy workday dinners. Add some sausage or boneless chicken breasts and dinner is ready in about 20 minutes.

1/2 head fennel sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to season

In a large baking pan toss the fennel slices with the olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 350 degrees F until the fennel is fork tender. Remove from oven and puree in a food processor or food mill. (If fresh fennel is not available try substituting 2 tsp crushed fennel seeds in the sauce.)

In a large saucepan sauté for 1 minute
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 small red onion finely diced

Roasted fennel puree
2 large cans (32 oz can) crushed roma tomatoes
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
1 whole bay leaf
1 large carrot finely grated
½ cup finely diced celery
2 tbsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper to season

Slowly simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf .

Meanwhile cut
4 boneless skinless chicken breast into large cubes

Saute the chicken in

3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic

Until the chicken is cooked and slightly browned. Toss in

1/2 chopped red pepper

Add the chicken to the sauce in the last 5 minutes or so of the simmering time. Serve over freshly cooked penne pasta with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serves 6.

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