2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon EVOO
1 medium bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1 head spring garlic or hardneck garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken poaching liquid or store-bought chicken stock
2 cups Poached Chicken #3
Salt and white pepper
1 pound penne rigate pasta
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted, for garnish
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
Chopped fennel fronds, for garnish
Chopped fresh tarragon, for garnish
In a large saucepan, heat the butter and EVOO over medium-low to medium heat. Add the fennel, garlic, and onion and cook very slowly until they are very sweet and soft, 20 to 25 minutes (do not let the onions brown). Transfer to a blender or food processor. Deglaze the pan with the wine.
Add the deglazing liquid, cream, and poaching liquid to the fennel. Puree until smooth, then return to the pot, season with salt and pepper and simmer over low heat 10 to 15 minutes to thicken a little. Add the chicken.
Make-ahead: Cool and refrigerate.
Night of: Return the sauce to room temp before reheating gently over medium-low heat while you cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente. Ladle out about a cup of the starchy cooking water. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce, tossing with tongs 1 or 2 minutes for the flavors to absorb. Add some of the starchy water to loosen the sauce up a bit.
Serve the pasta garnished with the pine nuts, cheese, fennel fronds, and tarragon.