¼ cup EVOO
1 large bulb fennel—quartered, cored, and very thinly sliced (reserve 1/2 cup fennel fronds for garnish)
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp. fennel pollen or ground fennel
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 cup white wine, such as Sancerre or Pinot Grigio
1 cup chicken bone broth or vegetable stock
½ cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1 lb. spaghetti
½ lemon, juiced (about 2 tbsp.)
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley tops, chopped
½ cup toasted pine nuts
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
In a large skillet, heat the EVOO, four turns of the pan, over medium to medium-high. Add the fennel and onion; season with salt. Cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, just until the vegetables soften (do not brown), 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic; stir for a minute. Stir in the fennel pollen, crushed red pepper, and lemon zest, then add the wine and broth. Cook until the sauce is reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the cream and reduce the heat to a simmer while you cook the pasta.
Salt the water, add the pasta, and cook about 1 minute less than the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Drain the pasta.
Add the pasta, lemon juice, pasta cooking water, and cheese to the sauce; toss to coat. Serve the pasta topped with the parsley, nuts, and fennel fronds.