- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling
- 1/4-1/3 pound salami (such as hard salami with black pepper and wine, Genoa salami or hot or sweet soppressata), about 15-20 not-too-thin slices, cut into 1/8-inch-wide strips
- 1 large bulb fennel, quartered, cored and very thinly sliced and a few fronds chopped and reserved
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- Salt and pepper
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup Pernod, dry vermouth or white wine (optional)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 14 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 pound spaghetti
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the EVOO, three turns of the pan. Separate the strips of salami as you scatter them into the pan. Cook, tossing with tongs, until crisp, 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the sliced fennel, onion, garlic, thyme and fennel seed; season with salt and pepper. Zest the lemon over the fennel mixture. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the fennel and onions are very tender and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the Pernod, if using, then add the stock and beans and heat through. Just before serving, squeeze in the juice of half the lemon for brightness.
When the water is at a rapid boil, salt it and cook the spaghetti until al dente, 7-8 minutes. Drain, reserving half a mug of the starchy cooking water. Add the pasta, reserved cooking water and salami to the fennel mixture. Toss in the fennel fronds and season. Drizzle with EVOO, to taste. Serve with the grated cheese to pass around the table.