I hated throwing carrot tops away. It seemed like such a waste. the key was to find a recipe that could handle their strong carroty herbacious flavor. This simple soup is humble and nourishing. The flavor is way more than the sum of it's parts. Adding the fennel opens up another delicious dimension to the soup, but it's not necessary. Same with the parmesan rind. without it, the soup is pure clear flavor. with it, the soup develops a meatier unctuousness. You could also sprinkle parmesan on the top after serving.
Nice with crusty bread, an escarole salad and a full bodied white wine. —cara_frank
Slice the carrots into rounds like pennies. wash the carrot tops carefully because they can be sandy. chop them finely. chop the fennel pollen if using that.
heat the olive oil in a soup pot and add the carrots, onions, celery and garlic. add the fennel if using it. saute until tender, about 5 minutes
add the rice or farro and stir very well. The grains taste better if they absorb some of fat
add 4 cups of the broth, rice or farro and parmesan rind. season with salt and pepper to taste. simmer for 30-45 minutes until the grains are almost tender. add more stock if needed. add all the chopped greens and simmer for another 10-15 minutes until done. try to find the parmesan rind and fish it out.