Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cook N Soup: William Sonoma Cream of Tomato Soup with Pancetta

The bad news is that the weather has turned a bit colder this week. The good news is that colder weather and soup go very well together. I suddenly have an urge to pull out the crock pot and bake bread.

My mother sent us home yesterday with a huge quantity of home grown tomatoes and I cannot think of a better way to use them up than to make soup! I have made this particular tomato soup a few years ago when I had my own bountiful garden of ripe tomatoes. The recipe for croutons with pancetta and gorgonzola have been served many times over the last few years with salad and other types of soups, but they are a must have with this soup.

This is a recipe adapted from a William Sonoma cookbook. I added a bit more sugar and cream in my version and used a blender to puree the soup.

Cream of Tomato Soup with Pancetta


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
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).

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