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Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Pancetta and Gremolata

A garnish of crispy pancetta and toasted bread crumbs tossed with parsley and lemon zest transforms this creamy soup into a dish that’s fit for a special meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 oz. pancetta, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock, plus more as needed
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, toss the bread crumbs with 2 Tbs. of the olive oil and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the bread crumbs are golden brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. In a bowl, toss the bread crumbs with the parsley and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Set the gremolata aside.

In a nonstick fry pan over medium heat, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is browned and crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion, shallots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the 5 cups stock, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 30 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Add more stock if needed to reach the desired consistency. Stir in the lemon juice and cream. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Top with the crispy pancetta and gremolata and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.