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Author Notes: This is a delicious, comforting sauce. It combines a few of my great loves: pasta, cream, and cheese; and while it's plenty decadent, it's not heavy at all. Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk inspired me to braise the fennel and onion in the oven and Chef June's Mussels Dijonnaise (https://food52.com/recipes/19170-mussels-dijonnaise-steamed-mussels-with-mustard-sauce) introduced me to the dreamy combination of heavy cream and mustard. —Allison
- 1 cup onion, sliced very thin
- 1 1/2 cups fennel, sliced very thin
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped parsley (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat the butter in a dutch oven (or any other heavy-bottomed, oven-safe pan) over medium heat until it foams.
- Cook onions, fennel, garlic, and red pepper flakes until the fennel and onion wilt completely. Raise the heat to medium high and cook until onion and fennel start to caramelize around the edges.
- Add white wine and cook until all liquid evaporates.
- Stir in mustard, lemon zest, nutmeg, thyme, heavy cream, and chicken broth. Add a few pinches of salt and plenty of ground pepper.
- Make a slurry out of the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of warm water. Whisk until there are no lumps and slowly mix it into the sauce.
- Bring sauce to a rapid simmer and then put in oven, covered, for 30 minutes. Halfway through cooking, give it a stir.
- When the sauce is out of the oven, stir in Parmesan cheese. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.
- Serve with any long pasta (I used spaghetti but fettuccine would be fantastic) and garnish with parsley, if using, and freshly grated parm.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for The Recipe You're Most Proud Of