The trick to a tasty soup is to sweat (to heat food until it emits liquid or "sweat") the vegetables in bacon-flavored olive oil until they're supersoft, then purée and season them well. You'll find the soup packed with flavor—from the fruitiness of the olive oil, the smoky pancetta, and the fresh taste of the vegetables.
Serves 4 to 5
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cooking Time 20 minutes
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
30 grams pancetta, chopped
(see Shopping tip below)
1/4 cup shallots, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
350 grams frozen peas
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese,
plus more for topping
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
pepper, to taste
1 Boil together chicken broth, thyme, and bay leaf. Set aside.
2 Cook pancetta over medium-high heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer pancetta to a parchment paper-lined plate, leaving the oil in the pan. Set pancetta aside.
3 In the same pan, sauté shallots in remaining oil and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.Stir in flour and cook until bubbly. Add broth mixture and peas. Bring to a boil and simmer until peas are soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Remove bay leaf and thyme.
4 In a blender, purée soup until smooth. Stir in Parmesan cheese, milk, and cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5 To serve, pour soup into deep bowls. Top with fried pancetta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Substitution tip: You can also tweak this basic recipe to your liking: Sub the peas with cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin, or mushrooms and you can have a new, flavorful bowl of soup any time.
Shopping tip: Pancetta is available at Santis Delicatessen, The Landmark, and S&R. You can also use premium bacon).
Photography by Patrick Martires | Styling by Paulynn Chang Afable
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