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Roasted Fennel and Cherry Tomato Sauce

Salsa di Finocchio e Pomodorini

MAKES ABOUT 1 3/4 CUPS

When is a sauce not just a sauce? When it can be used as a side vegetable dish, or even as a topping for pizza. You will get three variations with this fix-it-and-forget-it roasted fennel and cherry tomato sauce. The exquisite flavor is due to one key ingredient┬Žsugar.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil

1 large fennel bulb (about 12 ounces), washed, bulb part only thinly sliced into rings

2 pints cherry tomatoes, washed

3 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half lengthwise

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Brush a 12-inch baking pan with the olive oil. Add all the ingredients to the pan and toss them well to coat them in the oil. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until the vegetables have softened.

Use the sauce to dress 3/4 pound of spaghetti or short-cut macaroni like ziti or penne. Or use it as a topping for pizza, over baked fish, or as a side dish. However you use it, it is delicious!

Variation: Add a tablespoon of minced capers at the end of the cooking to give the sauce a nice sweet-and-sour taste. Two tablespoons of fresh thyme is another refreshing variation.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA PRONTO by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2005.

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