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Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup Topped with Pancetta and Toasted Breadcrumbs

For this soup I roast the cauliflower to bring out the nutty flavors and then pair it with roasted garlic and just a bit of cream to thicken it.
Course Soup
Keyword breadcrumbs, cauliflower, garlic, pancetta, roasted garlic, vegetable
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

For the roasted garlic cauliflower soup:

  • 2 heads garlic
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets, about 1½ pounds of florets
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 4 sprigs thyme, tied with twine
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

For the crispy pancetta and toasted breadcrumb topping:

  • ½ cup diced pancetta
  • 1 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Instructions

For the roasted garlic cauliflower soup:

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
  • Peel the loose paper away from the heads of the garlic and discard. Trim about ¼” - ½” off the top of the garlic to expose the garlic cloves. Drizzle the garlic with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Wrap the heads of garlic in aluminum foil.
  • Toss the cauliflower florets in 2 tablespoons of olive oil then season with salt and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Add the garlic to the pan.
  • Roast until the cauliflower is tender and the garlic cloves are soft when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
  • Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add the remaining olive oil and heat through. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the roasted cauliflower, thyme and wine, simmering until the wine has reduced by half. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low, simmering for about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
  • Let cool slightly then squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from the skin into the soup. Puree the soup in batches using a blender or an immersion blender.
  • Return the soup to the pot and keep over medium-low heat. Stir in the heavy cream and return to a simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and season with white pepper to taste. Slowly stir in the Parmesan until the cheese is completely combined.

For the crispy pancetta and toasted breadcrumb topping:

  • Heat a medium skillet over medium heat, add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy, about 6 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Leave about 1 teaspoon of the fat in the pan and turn down the heat to medium-low heat. Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt.
  • Add the breadcrumbs to the pan stirring to combine. Let cook, stirring constantly, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove to a small mixing bowl and stir together with the pancetta, parsley and pumpkin seeds.

To serve:

  • Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls and top with the crispy pancetta and toasted breadcrumb topping.