- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups water
- Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes—drained and finely chopped, juices reserved
- Pan-Fried Potato Croutons, Fennel-Orange Gremolata and diced Fontina cheese, for serving
- In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, fennel and thyme and cook the vegetables over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion and fennel are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the water and the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by one-third, about 30 minutes. Discard the thyme.
- Transfer half of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot. Serve the soup with Pan-Fried Potato Croutons, Fennel-Orange Gremolata and diced Fontina cheese.
The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.