January 3, 2018
A few years ago I was at a party and struck up an interesting conversation with a couple of guys originally from the East Coast. One of the guys was of Italian heritage and the conversation turned to food, naturally!
He described a soup he grew up eating that included fennel stalks as well as the bulb.
It caught my interest because I’d not encountered a recipe that used the stalks before; some of the fronds, yes, but not the stalks. It always seems like such a waste to me to throw them out as they contain so much flavor.
But they’re tough!
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In this soup, the stalks are pureed in a food processor and added to the diced bulb and some cannellini beans.
It is wonderfully flavorful, completely vegetarian, and comes together in a snap.
If you have some of my Cannellini alla Toscana lurking in your freezer, by all means use them in the soup. If not, canned cannellini will work just fine.
As for the guys who gave me the recipe, I can’t find anyone who knows who they might be. I’ve talked to the hosts of the party and they’re stumped. I always like to include a personal interest story along with each recipe and I’ve truly exhausted what I know about this particular version of this soup.
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From my research, however, I can tell you that this appears to be a popular soup in Italy given the number of recipe variations I was able to turn up written in Italian. Most contain meat, such as speck, and other vegetables, such as carrots and celery. One even contains seaweed! None of the recipes is quite as simple as this one…and I love the simplicity.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
If you have a favorite family recipe and a bit of a story to tell, please email me at email@example.com and we can discuss including it in the blog. I am expanding the scope of my blog to include traditional recipes from around the country and around the world. If you haven’t seen Bertha’s Flan or Melinda’s Drunken Prunes, take a look. They will give you an idea of what I’m looking for.