Heat the oil in a large soup pot over high heat. Add the finnel and onions and sautÈ for 1 minute. Stir in the garlic and sautÈ for 1 minute. Add the salt and pepper and sautÈ for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and Pernod and cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Whisk in the cream, streaming it in slowly, and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and purÈe the soup in batches in a food processor. Reheat if necessary.
Serve hot, allowing 1 cup of soup per portion. Stir 2 tablespoons Parmesan into each serving . Lay a breadstick across each bowl and hang a fennel spring from each breadstick, so it drapes into the soup.
Yield: 8 cups, 8 first-course servings