3 Fennel bulbs (about 2 lbs)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow union, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 can (35 oz each) Italian plum tomatoes
1/2 cup Pernod or Sambuca (or any licorice liqueur)
2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
- Cut the tops from the fennel bulbs and reserve the leafy tops. Coarsely chop 2 of the white bulbs. Melt 1 cup butter in a large pan over low heat. Add chopped fennel, onion and 4 of the garlic cloves and cook until limp, about 15 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the tomatoes with the liquid and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes
- Process the vegetable mixture in small batches in a food processor or blender .
- Finely chop the remaining fennel bulb. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heart. Add fennel and sauté in the butter with the remaining 2 cloves of garlic for 5 minutes.
- Chop the leafy tops of fennel. ( I don’t use the all tops, only a few sprigs of leaves) Add the sautéed fennel, leafy tops, Pernod, and the vegetable broth to the puree. Simmer until heated through. about 5 minutes. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Sprinkle steaming bowls of the soup with grated fontina.