How to Make It
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until it starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the sliced fennel and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the mussels, white wine and Pernod and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the mussels start to open, about 5 minutes; transfer the mussels to a large bowl as they open; discard any that don’t open. Don’t wipe out the saucepan.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the linguine until al dente. Drain well, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
In the large saucepan, whisk in the heavy cream and 3/4 cup of the pasta water and cook over moderate heat until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes; season with salt and black pepper. Stir in the linguine, mussels and 2 tablespoons of the cheese and cook, gently tossing, until the pasta is coated in a creamy sauce, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of pasta water if the sauce seems too thick. Transfer the pasta to shallow bowls and garnish with the reserved fennel fronds and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese. Serve immediately.