Tomato Soup with Pancetta
Soup has never been my thing. To eat it? Yes, of course! To make it? No way. I’ve tried, really, I have. My attempt New England clam chowder…inedible. Creamy tomato soup…red tasteless liquid. Broccoli and cheddar…green tasteless liquid. And then there was the infamous attempt at making Manhattan clam chowder – from a tried and true recipe that my mom and grandmother have used for YEARS and is the only food guests ask about the presence of during my aunt and uncle’s annual beach house party on Fire Island…it turned out so horrific that even the animals wouldn’t eat it when it froze after I poured it outside in the middle of winter. I’ve watched enough Food Network in my life to have seen dozens of soups being made and not a single one of them looked too challenging to make – so WHY couldn’t I do it??
The recipe sounded perfect except for adding chunks of bread which are supposed to aid in thickening the soup – to me it only sounded like soggy bread and I wasn’t willing to risk another soup attempt on soggy bread. I’ve learned enough over the past couple of years about how to make substititions to recipes in order to make them “my own” and this would be another one of those times. Actually, my changes were minimal, only omitting the bread and adding about 1 1/2 tbsp of a cornstarch slurry, 1/2 cup heavy cream (I LOVE creamy tomato soup), and a package of fresh tortellini to really round out the soup as a meal. I also used my handy-dandy immersion blender before adding the tortellini and cream to smooth out the thick chunks of diced tomatoes as I knew Kyle would never try the soup with chunks of tomatoes floating around. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could puree the soup in a blender then return it to the pot.
source: Giada De Laurentiis
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 ounces pancetta, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- dash or 2 of dried crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper (I used about 1/2 tsp Kosher salt and maybe 1/4 tsp pepper)
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch plus 1 1/2 tbsp water, combined in a small bowl to make a slurry
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 12 oz tortellini, uncooked
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
- Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Puree soup with the immersion blender.
- Bring the soup to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 3-5 minutes. Add cornstartch/water slurry and tortellini. Allow to cook, covered, for 7-8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in heavy cream. Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add basil during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Reseason soup with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Stir the mascarpone and sour cream in a small bowl to blend. Ladle the soup into bowls. Spoon a dollop of the mascarpone mixture atop the soup and serve.