Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a ladleful of the cooking water.
While the pasta is working, in a deep skillet or large saucepan, heat 3 tbsp. EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Stir in the fennel seeds for 30 seconds. Stir in the chile and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and season with salt, pepper and the ground fennel (or fennel pollen). Cook, stirring, for 20 minutes. Stir in the reserved pasta cooking water.
In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta, cream, thyme and remaiing 1 tbsp. EVOO. Season with salt.
Serve the pasta in shallow bowls with large dollops of the ricotta mixture for stirring in as you eat. Pass the remaining ricotta mixture at the table.