Carrot and Winter Squash Soup with Pancetta
- 1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 yellow onions, cut into chunks
- 3 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh basil
- 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 4 cups chicken broth, plus more for thinning the soup
- 6 oz. pancetta, cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm) dice
1. Preheat an oven to 425°F
2. In a roasting pan, combine the squash, carrots, onions, garlic, thyme, basil and parsley. Season with 1 tsp. salt and a grinding of pepper. Drizzle the 1/4 cup olive oil over the vegetables and toss to coat. Roast, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and browned in spots, about 45 minutes.
3. Remove the vegetables from the oven and discard the thyme sprigs. Transfer the vegetables to a soup pot and add 4 cups of the broth. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Alternately, transfer the soup to a blender, puree until smooth and return the soup to the pot. Add more broth to thin the soup to the desired consistency. Place over medium-low heat and cook until warmed through, about 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a dry fry pan over medium-low heat, sauté the pancetta until crisped and some of the fat is rendered, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
5. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with a few of the pancetta “croutons,” drizzle with olive oil and serve. Serves 6 to 8.