This is one of my favourite soups. Nourishing. Satisfying. Warming. As all good soups should be.
But the great thing about this Lemon, Orzo and Fennel soup is that it can be ready in a jiffy too. Wafer thin slices of fennel cook in no time at all, so the soup is ready when the orzo (also known as risoni) is ready. It’s a soup to make on those nights that you don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen, but still want something healthy and nourishing.
What makes this soup special, to me at least, is the last minute addition of lemon zest, lemon juice and fennel fronds just before serving. This really rounds out the soup, and transforms it from a good soup to a special soup.
The other great thing about this Lemon, Orzo and Fennel soup is also that it is a transseasonal soup. It’s light enough to be enjoyed when the weather is slightly warmer but have a hankering for soup, and is still just as welcome on a cold winters night, paired with bread slathered in butter.
I'm not 100% sure on the source of this recipe as I came across it in a magazine a couple of years ago, which I no longer have, and I haven't been able to find the source on Google. I do however believe the original recipe was by Matt Moran. I've adapted it slightly. The main change I made was to cook the orzo (risoni) in the soup broth rather than separately to save time and washing up. I suggest slicing the fennel and leek using a mandoline slicer to ensure the thickness (or thinness) is consistent.
15 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 leek, finely sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 medium fennel, cored, quartered and finely sliced (fennel fronds reserved for serving)
- 2 litres (8 cups) vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup orzo (risoni)
- salt and pepper
- 1 lemon, zested and cut into wedges to serve
- Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil and leek. Cook for 4 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant before adding the fennel. Cook the fennel for 1 minute before adding the vegetable stock and orzo (risoni) and cook for 12 to 12 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked. Taste and adjust the seasonings to taste.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and top with lemon zest, lemon juice and fennel fronds and serve immediately.