A Deliciously Tasty Italian Fennel Soup Recipe

Now that winter is slowly starting to turn into spring, it is time for the perfect soup for the season. This tasty Italian fennel soup recipe will certainly fit the bill. While this Italian dish is often associated with weddings, there is nothing wrong with having it any day of the week. It is a rich, savory soup that is sure to serve as a true crowd-pleasing meal.

In fact, the wedding connotation has nothing to do with the ceremony itself. It is all about the marriage of various ingredients. The meat and the greens in this dish pair so nicely, you would think that they were meant to be together forever. You may need to do a bit of tweaking so that the finished product aligns with your taste buds but the original recipe is well worth your time.

The difference between uncooked fennel and the fennel that you are about to enjoy is night and day. The consistency of the uncooked fennel can be compared to licorice but once the heat hits it? It’s a whole different ballgame. The base is simple enough, consisting of garlic and onions. Once the additional ingredients are added, the dish really sings.

Of course, you will want to go light on the calories when it comes to this soup because you will absolutely need to have some bread with it. It’s the best way to mop it all up! To learn more about this delicious Italian fennel soup, please be sure to check out this amazing recipe. As soon as you have tried it for yourself, you will see what all of the fuss is about!

Preparation Time/Cooking Time

One of the best parts about this dish is that it does not take very long to handle the preparation or cooking process. The prep time is a mere 25 minutes and it will only take 30 minutes of cooking before the fennel soup is done. Being able to prepare a delicious, hearty soup in just under an hour is a major win for those of us looking for quick meals.


  • Mild Italian sausage (1/4 pound)
  • Ground beef (1/4 pound, chuck that has a fat ratio of 70% lean and 30% fat is your best bet)
  • 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
  • Large cloves of garlic (6 cloves that have been diced and minced)
  • Small sweet onion (1/2, minced)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan (1/2 cup divided, you’ll also want the rind so that the broth is flavored)
  • Chopped fresh parsley (1 tablespoon)
  • Panko breadcrumbs (2 tablespoons)
  • Coarse salt (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Large leek (1 leek, diced, light green and white parts only, 1 cup worth)
  • Medium roughly chopped head fennel (1 head fennel with the fronds reserved, roughly 1 cup’s worth chopped)
  • Red pepper flakes (pinch crushed)
  • Dry white wine (1/4 cup)
  • Low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (6 cups)
  • Small Italian pasta like acini di pepe (1/2 cup, orzo can also be used)
  • 15-ounce can cannellini beans (1 can, rinsed and drained)
  • Small head of escarole (1 head, roughly chopped)

Cooking Instructions

  1. When you are ready to get started, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. From there, grab a large baking sheet. Spray it down with non-stick cooking spray and you are truly ready to begin.
  2. Now, you will need to grab a large bowl. This is when the sausage, beef, salt pepper, egg, 2 of your garlic cloves, the onion, a quarter cup of the Parmesan, the parsley and breadcrumbs are all mixed together. You are going to want to make sure that you are folding the mixture as gently as possible. Otherwise, you could end up overworking the meat, which will have a negative effect on the finished product.
  3. For this step, you are going to want to use one tablespoon as the sizing guideline. The mixture is then formulated into meatballs that are all of equal size. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet that has already been prepared. The meatballs should be baked until they have achieved a golden brown hue. This step of the process is going to take roughly ten minutes.
  4. Get a large stock pot or a Dutch oven and set it to medium-low heat. It is time to use the olive oil and swirl it around, in order to coat the pan. The garlic, leeks, fennel, and red pepper flakes that remain are now added to the pan as well. The salt and pepper are utilized at this point and this is your opportunity to begin to season the soup.
  5. Saute the mixture until the fennel and leeks have had a chance to soften. This should take about 5 minutes. The broth and white wine is poured in now. Be sure to add the Parmesan rind, too. The mixture is brought to a boil next. Add the pasta and make sure the heat is down to medium-low. Make sure that the pot is covered and cook the pasta until it is tender. This step will take roughly 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. The escarole, beans and meatballs are stirred in. Cook the mixture until the beans are heated through. The escarole will need to have wilted for at least 5 minutes before you decide to proceed. Additional salt and pepper are added at this stage, as this is where the soup is going to be seasoned to your personal taste. The Parmesan rind is removed and the soup is then divided between each bowl.
  7. Take the grated Parmesan that remains and use it as a garnish for the dish. Fennel fronds can also be used as a garnish once the soup is finished. Crusty bread is a great side and the soup is best served hot.

Additional Tips and Pointers

While some might decide that they want to drop their meatballs into the soup directly and save time on the baking process, this is not advised. The soup is already quite savory, which makes it necessary to remove some of the fat. Otherwise, the fat from the meatballs will swim in the broth and make the dish even more savory.

Others might be wondering why this recipe calls for Parmesan rinds. These ends might not seem useful but in reality, they’re at a home chef’s best friend. The savory flavor that they provide for the broth cannot be matched with any other replacement. Make sure that the rinds are removed before serving and enjoy your soup.

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