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Playing White Minestrone with Fennel and Sausage


  • 2 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus some for drizzling
  • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 bulb of fennel and a handful of fronds, chopped, divided
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1 bundle Swiss chard or 1/4 head cabbage, trimmed or cored and chopped
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • A chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano with the rind
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • 1 14-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup short fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup frozen green peas, a couple of small handfuls
  • A handful of parsley, chopped
  • A handful of basil, torn or shredded


Serves: 4


Heat a couple of tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Lightly brown sausage and crumble into small bits. Add fennel, onion, garlic, chard or cabbage, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Throw in the cheese rind and bay leaf, cover pot and sweat the vegetables 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add white beans and stock plus 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Stir in fusilli. When just about cooked to al dente, stir in peas and turn off heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in parsley, basil and fennel fronds. Remove cheese rind and serve in shallow bowls with an extra drizzle of EVOO on top and some shaved cheese.