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Cream of Tomato Soup with Pancetta

Cream of Tomato Soup with Pancetta
For pureeing, use a food mill with a somewhat coarse disk to strain the tomato skins and seeds while retaining the texture of the rice.

Ingredients:

  • 4 thin slices pancetta, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 1/4 lb. tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1/4 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 baguette slices
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Directions:

In a large pot over medium heat, fry the pancetta in the olive oil until crisp, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes and marjoram. Bring to a simmer and add the rice. To provide enough liquid for cooking the rice, add 1 to 2 cups water, depending on the juiciness of the tomatoes. Cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

Place a food mill over another large pot. Transfer the soup to the food mill and puree. Reheat over low heat and stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat a broiler. Brush the baguette slices with olive oil and top each with 1 Tbs. of the Gorgonzola. Broil until the cheese bubbles. Top each with some of the pancetta. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve each with a Gorgonzola and pancetta-topped baguette slice. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma TASTE Magazine, Garden Varieties, by Sara Deseran (Fall 2001).