Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce over Pasta

adapted from The Gourmet Slow Cooker, by Lynn Alley

6 oz sun dried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped

1 cup hearty red wine

1 tsp fennel seeds

3 allspice berries

2-3 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 celery ribs, finely chopped

2-3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

3/4 pound chicken sausage, sliced

1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes

2 (14.5 oz) cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

1 sprig of thyme or 1/2-1 tsp dried thyme, to taste

Shredded Parmesan for serving

Combine the fennel and the allspice seeds in a mortar and grind finely.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the oil.  Add the onion and saute, stirring frequently, about 7-8 minutes, until starting to brown.  Add the garlic, celery, and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the sausage slices and the spice mixture, stir for 2-3 minutes, until mixed in well.  Add the tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and wine.  Stir to mix.

Pour the mixture into the slow cooker and add the thyme.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Check the mixture for taste and to see that it is at the thickness you desire.  Adjust seasonings.  Remove the thyme before serving.

Serve over creamy polenta or pasta.