Stretch your dollar menus:
Fennel Spinach Pasta
While waiting for a BIG pot of salted water to boil, prep the fennel & onions, then start to carmelize them together, adding thyme, if desired. Continue to carmelize the fennel & onion while the pasta cooks. Occasionally, add a dip of the boiling salted water to the fennel & onion to help them cook faster. When the pasta is about half finished, scrape the carmelized fennel and onions to the side, and put the whole can of tomato paste into the pan and let it cook down and carmelize. Add the garlic at the same time and cook for 1 minute, then dip about a cup of the water out of the pasta pot, and put it in with the tomato paste, garlic, onion & fennel pot and mix together. Reduce until very thick. Add 1/2 cup more pasta water, the beans and the spinach. Immediately put the al dente pasta on top and let the spinach wilt for 30-60 seconds. Reserve the pasta water in case the sauce is too thick. Add 1/2 cup more pasta water if necessry, season as necessary with salt & pepper, stir and serve.