Fennel Minestrone

Licorice-y from both the sausage and the fennel, this combination is wonderfully soothing.

Fennel Minestrone
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 to 14 cups
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet or Italian spicy sausage, removed from casings and crumbled (optional)
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped, or 1 bunch leeks, washed and cut in small dice
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cored and diced, including the fern-like tops
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, cut in small dice
  • 1 teaspoon dried fennel seeds
  • 6 to 8 cups low-salt chicken stock
  • 2 cups fresh or canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked white canellini beans
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 lemons, cut into eighths
  1. Place a stockpot over medium heat and, when it is hot, add the oil. Add the sausage, if desired, and cook for 3 minutes, all the while breaking up the sausage with the back of a spoon. Add the onion or leeks, fennel, garlic, carrots, and fennel seeds, and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the stock, tomatoes, and beans and bring to a low boil. Lower the heat to low, partially cover, and cook for 1 hour. Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate at least overnight and up to two days.
  2. Place in a pot and gently reheat. Stir in the basil, and garnish with lemon wedges.