2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 fennel bulb, finely diced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
3 thyme sprigs
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1 pound 85% lean ground beef
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 cup dry red wine
9 fresh very ripe tomatoes (about 2 3/4 pounds), diced
One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/4 pounds fresh fettuccine
3/4 cup fresh basil, torn into pieces
1 wedge Parmigiano-Reggiano
The sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. Rewarm over medium heat before serving, adding a bit more chicken broth or water to moisten, as needed.
Heat a heavy medium pot over medium heat. Add the oil and onions and sauté until the onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Add the fennel, carrot, celery, garlic, fennel seeds, and thyme and sauté until the vegetables are tender and pale golden, about 15 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the beef, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, breaking up the beef so no clumps form and until the beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until it has almost completely reduced, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce, and broth. Bring the sauce to a simmer.
Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer very gently, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are very tender, about 1 hour. Uncover and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly, about 1 1/2 hours longer. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Just before serving, cook the fettuccine in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Lift the pasta from the water and transfer it to the sauce; reserve the pasta water. Using tongs, toss the pasta well to combine with the sauce and season it to taste with salt and pepper, adding a little of the reserved pasta water, if necessary, to thin out the sauce.
Twirl some pasta around a carving fork, then point the fork prongs perpendicularly into the center of a pasta serving bowl. Allow the pasta to fall off the prongs, forming a swirled mound of pasta on the plate. Repeat with the remaining pasta.
Mix some of the basil into the remaining sauce in the pot, then spoon the sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle the remaining basil over each bowl of pasta then grate the Parmesan over and serve.