Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet (with a lid) or a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fennel and cook until the onion is translucent, another 8 to 10 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the Pernod, saffron, garlic, and thyme. After 1 minute, stir in the white wine and boil for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring to break up the tomatoes.
Meanwhile, put water on to boil for the pasta. When the tomato sauce has cooked for about 20 minutes, scatter the mussels over the tomato sauce and cover the pot. Steam until the shells are open, 8 to 10 minutes. Discard any that won’t open. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste and keep it warm while you boil the pasta in salted water. Divide the pasta and sauce among four serving bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
nutrition information (per serving):
Photo: Susan Kahn