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Zuppa di fave e finocchio (Broad bean and Fennel Soup)

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Zuppa di fave e finocchio (Broad bean and Fennel Soup)

Zuppa di fave e finocchio (Broad bean and Fennel Soup)
Lisa Linder
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total prep
Soup made with dried broad beans is something many of the older generation in Sicily prefer not to make anymore, as it reminds them of the times when many people were so poor that they often had little else but dried beans to live on. However, for a younger generation of cooks it is a traditional dish that should be celebrated, and adding some fresh beans gives a contrast in textures.

Recipe courtesy of Made in Sicily by Giorgio Locatelli/Ecco an imprint of HarperCollins, 2012.


  • 1 pound, 5 ounces dried broad beans (favas)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped wild fennel (or 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds, soaked in a little water)
  • 7 ounches (1 1/2 cups) fresh broad beans (favas)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for finishing


  • Soak the dried broad beans in cold water overnight, then drain.
  • The next day, put the soaked beans and the wild fennel (or the soaked fennel seeds) into a pan, add enough water to cover, and bring to the boil. Put a lid on the pan, then turn down the heat and cook slowly for about 2 hours, or until the beans are completely soft, adding water as necessary. Blend by hand or machine until smooth and set aside.
  • While the dried beans are cooking, blanch the fresh beans in boiling unsalted water for a couple of minutes, then drain and peel off the skins.
  • In a separate pan, heat a little olive oil, then add the diced onion, carrot and celery and cook until soft but not colored. Add the fresh broad beans and the blended beans and cook for 15 minutes, then season and serve drizzled with a little extra-virgin olive oil.