Tuscan Carrot-Top Soup with Rice and Fennel

Olive oil

3–4 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium shallot, minced

1 cup celery cut in 1/4″ dice

1 1/2 cups onion cut in 1/4″ dice

2 cups carrot cut in 1/4″ dice

1/2 cup short grain rice

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper

6 cups water (approximate)

1 1/2 cups lightly packed carrot top greens (feather ends only, no stems)

1/2 Fennel Fronds, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (optional)

good olive oil

parmesan cheese as garnish



Tuscan Carrot-Top Soup with Rice and Fennel 

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1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium eat. Add the garlic and shallots. As soon as they get fragrant (do not let them color at all) add celery, onions and carrots.

2. Once the vegetableshave softened somewhat add another tablespoon or so of olive oil and bring the heat up a bit. Once things start to bubble and sizzle add the rice to the pan.

3. Stir the rice into the mixture very well. Keep stirring so nothing burns on the bottom. The goal here is to infuse flavor into the rice. It will only take two or three minutes. Lower the heat again to medium.

4. In order to get the rice as flavorful as possible add about 1 ½ cups chicken broth a little at a time in 3 or 4 additions. Keep stirring the mixture as you go. Wait until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Taste the rice often at this point. We want to keep a kernel of crunch deep inside each grain of creamy rice.

5. Once that is achieved add about 6 cups of water. Use your judgment here as to how brothy you like it. Add salt and pepper to taste and let the soup simmer at a medium temperature until the flavors come together. 

6. You may serve the soup as is. However, if you want a very soft and consistent texture then cook it further until the rice begins to break down. In this case use an immersion blender to break up the vegetables a bit more too. Though do not go all the way to a puree.

7. Whichever way you go, chunky or creamy, do not add the carrot tops and fennel fronds until right before you serve it. The bright green tastes and color are the real stars of the soup.

8. Add all the greens at once and stir them in quickly. They will wilt and stay bright green if you serve the soup quickly.

9. Taste for seasoning ( a tiny bit of vinegar can be a nice addition here) and ladle it into bowls.

10 Garnish with a drizzle of good olive oil and some shaved parmesan cheese.