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creamy cauliflower white bean soup with pancetta gremolata


Have I noticed that all my food photos have a slightly pink tint to them since I put up my Christmas 🎄 tree with it's bright red skirt around the bottom on top of a small table in the living room, Yes I have noticed that, lol 😂  Good thing I like the color pink.  I've tried taking pictures on the other side of the living room, which has the best light in the house, especially this dark time of year.  
I love this cauliflower soup, which was introduced to me at a holiday cookie exchange and pot luck last year.  I have continued to make this soup with a few changes, like adding the white heirloom flageolet beans.  I love the pancetta gremolata on top, I think the combination of flavors here is the best, a true comfort winter comfort food.  I added a small amount of heavy cream with lemon juice at the end of cooking, it was a nice addition.  The heavy cream is not necessary but I wouldn't skip the fresh lemon juice and definitely don't skip the gremolata.

Ingredients and Recipe for Creamy Cauliflower White Bean Soup with Pancetta Gremolata
Serves 4 generously 

1 cup fresh bread cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped, set a side a spoonful of larger chopped pieces of parsley
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
3 ounces pancetta slices
2 large shallots, peeled and chopped
1 head cauliflower, trimmed and chopped in medium pieces 
1 cup cooked white beans, I used heirloom flageolet beans
1 quart chicken broth
fresh lemon juice, to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream, optional
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

for the pancetta gremolata

Preheat the oven to 375F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment
Put bread cubes on one side, drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil
Arrange slices of pancetta on the other side
Slide the baking sheet into the oven, baking until bread cubes and pancetta are browned and crisp, about 20 minutes, remove from oven and set aside to cool enough to handle.
Pulverize the baked bread cubes until crumbly and finely chop the pancetta, setting aside a few spoonfuls of larger sized pieces of chopped pancetta.
In a medium bowl toss together the bread crumbs, finely chopped pancetta, finely chopped parsley and the lemon zest, add salt and pepper to taste.  Set the pancetta gremolata aside.

for the creamy cauliflower white bean soup

In a dutch oven over medium heat, add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  When the oil is warm add the shallots, cook and stir for about 10 minutes until softened and translucent.
Stir in the chopped cauliflower, cook and stir for several minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Pour in the chicken broth and over a medium high heat bring soup to a simmer.  Cover the pan and cook for about 30 minutes or until cauliflower is tender, stir in the cooked white beans.
Off the heat purée the soup with a stick blender until creamy and smooth, check seasonings.  Return the soup to a low heat and stir in the lemon juice, cream and more broth if soup is too thick.
Ladle the soup into warmed rimmed soup bowls and top with the gremolata, additional chopped parsley and the larger chopped pieces of pancetta.


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