None the less while browsing recipes online I found Jamie Oliver's recipe for spaghetti with fennel and salami. James loves all things licoricey (as much as I hate them), we still have a good pile of fennel salami in the fridge, and I can use the extra sauce for pizza later in the week (he still doesn't quite complain about red sauce pizza). Sold.
I started a pan with, as Oliver says, 2 lugs of olive oil and put in a handful of thinly sliced fennel salami and 3 sliced cloves of garlic. I cooked that over low heat until the salami just started to crisp and added one sliced small bulb of fennel and covered the pan to cook over moderate heat for five minutes. I took a shortcut here. The recipe calls for a large can of chopped tomatoes and I only had a can of sauce. So I added the sauce along with a few crushed red chiles and S&P and let the mixture simmer for about 11 minutes. Jamie Oliver's recipe cooked down the tomatoes for 25 minutes -- Muir Glen sauce might just be a better answer for a work night.
I drained the pasta, stirred it around in the sauce, and served it sprinkled with parmesan cheese and chopped fennel fronds.
Red sauce James liked and didn't tempt me to stray from my diet (I hate fennel and only cook it for him). "Easy peasy," as the chef would say.