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  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 fresh whole basil leaves
  • 3 pounds fresh tomatoes or 2 28-ounce cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For Garnish:
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, cut intro thin ribbons
  • Homemade toasted croutons
  • Crème Fraiche


  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel and season with salt and pepper. Sauté the vegetables until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes more.
  2. Steep the saffron in 2 tablespoons of boiling water to release the flavor, about 1 minute. Add the wine and saffron liquid to the pan along with the whole basil leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat then the reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, their juice, salt, pepper and sugar and return the soup to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to simmer and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
  4. To serve, garnish bowls of soup basil, croutons and a dollop of crème fraiche.
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