Well this was a flavour revelation. I do love a good tomato sauce and this is truly one of those. The fennel is kind of a personal fave for me with a tomato sauce, though probably more American Italian than straight Italian, I can just picture myself overlooking some beautiful vineyard with a row of conifers and a stunning purple Tuscan sky in the background as I eat this. Truly spectacular, truly simple and just how food ought to be.
I think a great loaf of Ciabatta would be perfect with this to mop up all the goodness. Buon Appetito.
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- 1 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds
- 1 Brown Onion brown, peeled and halved
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 20 Grams Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) BUY
- 2 400g Tins Diced Tomatoes
- 2 Teaspoons Golden Caster Sugar
- 2 sprigs Basil plus some more chopped
- 2 Pinches Pink Salt Flakes BUY
- Black Pepper freshly cracked to taste
- 100 Grams Parmesan
- 4-6 medium zucchini
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) as needed BUY
- 2 Teaspoons chilli flakes
- more salt and pepper as needed
Mill the parmesan *10 sec/speed 10 and remove from bowl and set aside.
Make the tomato sauce now.
Place fennel seeds into a small frying pan and dry toast until just smoking and fragrant. Tip into the Thermomix bowl.
Add onion, garlic and EVOO and chop 3 sec/speed 5. Saute 6 min/Varoma/speed 1.
Add all remaining sauce ingredients and cook 30 min/100°C/speed 1/MC OFF. Place the simmering basket on top of the lid to prevent spatter.
When sauce is finished, blend 1 min/speed 9/MC ON. Stir the chopped basil through the sauce with a spatula.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C and line 2 baking trays with paper.
Trim the ends and slice the zucchini lengthways in about 1 cm thick slices. Drizzle with EVOO, season well on both sides and sprinkle with the chilli flakes.
Cook approx. 12 minutes in the oven until just browned. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 170°C.
To assemble the dish, oil a gratin dish with plenty of EVOO. Spread a small amount of the sauce on the base of the dish, then arrange 1/3 of the zucchini over the sauce. Top with a small amount of the milled parmesan. Repeat each layer twice more finishing with the bulk of the milled parmesan. Drizzle with EVOO if you wish.
Bake 30-35 minutes until browned, bubbling and fragrant.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves if desired.
With a garden salad and a solid red wine. YUM!