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Creamy Spinach and Pear Soup with Pancetta

Creamy Spinach and Pear Soup with Pancetta

A plain bowl of green soup is about as exciting as a cardboard cubicle, hence the decorative olive oil drizzle (ooo, pretty!) and sprinkle of crispy pancetta bits on top.

(And, oh man I can’t believe I’m doing this) but my ability to present and photograph a bowl of green soup has come a long way. Scary. At the same time, proof as to just how far I’ve come in 8 years (hint: a LONG way).

Something about the way a drizzle of olive oil (or even lemon olive oil, if you so desire) floats transparently on top of a bowl of creamy soup like a culinary Jackson Pollock makes my heart happy. Even if the soup itself is, well, just soup (I’ve never been much of a soup person, can you blame me?) But this one is surprising, even for me, with a fresh hit of spinach and fruity pear and a surprising creaminess for a soup that has no cream whatsoever (although I do admit to finishing it with a heaping spoonful of mascarpone cheese, do you blame me?)

Creamy Spinach and Pear Soup with Pancetta

Despite its grinchy green color, this soup has a heart the size of Houston, and is pretty healthy to boot.

It didn’t come together as effortlessly as it looks; rather, it required more than a few rounds of testing before it passed our stringent taste test.

Because the first time we made it, it tasted like a hot green smoothie.

Not good. Not bad, but not great either.

Next time around we added some pancetta bits and that made ALL the difference. It took it from an oddly sweet, fruity soup, to a bright and savory bowl of green goodness. The result is a fresh and fruity, yet surprisingly savory soup. Serve it with some fresh-baked crusty bread suitable for dipping.

Creamy Spinach and Pear Soup with Pancetta

A lot of the creaminess comes from the cashews, which also give the soup some added protein, as well as a heaping scoop of mascarpone cheese to finish it off (mascarpone being my favorite way to finish off a creamy soup. I mean, if you want to take your tomato soup to the next level, that’s the ticket right there).

It would make an excellent starter or accompaniment alongside something meaty and hearty. I mean, with all the spinach in there you may as well be serving a salad (and dare I say I’ve seen numerous spinach, pear, and pancetta salad recipes out there). See what I mean? So instead of having to decide on soup OR salad…. why not have both… at the same time?

Spinach and Pear Soup with Pancetta

Yield: 4 servings

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces Pancetta, cut in small cubes
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup chopped)
  • 2 ripe comice or green anjou pears, cored and chopped (ok to leave the skin on)
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese (optional)
  • olive oil, for drizzling (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pancetta cubes and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes or until  brown and crispy. With a slotted spoon, transfer cooked pancetta to a paper-towel lined plate, leaving any rendered fat in the pan.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add onions to pan; cook until soft and transluscent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add chopped pears, cashews, and coriander and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring soup to a simmer and let simmer the soup for 5 minutes or until pears are softened.
  4. Add spinach and parsley and simmer for 1 minute more or until spinach is completely wilted. Remove from heat.
  5. Transfer soup to blender, working in batches if necessary, and puree until smooth and creamy (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return to saucepan and set over medium heat to rewarm. Season with salt and pepper to taste. For a creamier soup, stir in 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese until melted and smooth.
  6. Divide among serving bowls. Drizzle with olive oil (if desired), and sprinkle with pancetta bits. Serve warm with crusty bread for dipping.
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18 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On January 19, 2015 at 6:38 am

    What a gorgeous and crazy unique soup!

    Reply

  2. 2
    Posted On January 19, 2015 at 7:01 am

    I would love to have this with a sprinkle of toasted walnuts and some good blue cheese! Pear and spinach is wild combo but you make sound so delicate and flavorful.

    Reply

  3. 3
    Posted On January 19, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Now THAT is a purty soup. I’m going in.

    Reply

  4. 4
    Posted On January 19, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Gorgeous soup. I love the time an effort you took to work out the details. I’m sure to give it a try. Thanks!

    Reply

  5. 5
    Posted On January 19, 2015 at 9:32 am

    This may just be the prettiest soup I’ve ever laid eyes on! Sounds delish too!

    Reply

  6. 6
    Posted On January 19, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    This is so unique! I love it! Can’t wait to try it out! It’s a beautiful bowl of green!

    Reply

  7. 7
    Posted On January 19, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Wow! What an interesting mix of flavors. Absolutely gorgeous, too!

    Reply

  8. 8
    Posted On January 19, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Really pretty and pretty healthy – i love it! 

    Reply

  9. 9
    Posted On January 20, 2015 at 5:08 am

    I’m all about the olive oil drizzles, too! This soup sounds delicious. I think I would like it even if it did taste like a hot green smoothie, just because I love soup and I love smoothies!

    Reply

  10. 10
    Posted On January 20, 2015 at 8:02 am

    This sounds fabulous as a coulis under some seared sliced duck breast. Yum!

    Reply

  11. 11
    Vickie S.
    Posted On January 20, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Wow, this looks wonderful and I will definitely make it. By the way, I made the creamy cauliflower soup last week and it came out great!

    Reply

  12. 12
    Posted On January 20, 2015 at 10:27 am

    I’m so excited to try this recipe. So delicious!  So inspirational!

    http://www.trangscorner.com

    Reply

  13. 13
    Posted On January 20, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Love this out of the box soup, I would have never thought of it but the flavors would compliment each of so well.  You make green soup look good! :)

    Reply

  14. 14
    Posted On January 20, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    This is absolutely stunning! One of my all-time favorite photos of yours! :)

    Reply

  15. 15
    Posted On January 20, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    An absolutely gorgeous green soup, Lindsay!

    Reply

  16. 16
    Posted On January 21, 2015 at 4:05 am

    These photos are GORGEOUS. I love the drizzle and pancetta on top – it looks like it belongs in a magazine. I am so drawn to the sweet pear added into a savory soup!

    Reply

  17. 17
    Posted On January 21, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    I was tempted to say unusual flavor combo but it’s just unusual because I’ve never heard it before. The flavors together don’t sound unusual – in fact, they sound highly delicious!

    Reply

  18. 18
    Taylor
    Posted On February 27, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    I just made this recipe.  Very good.  It was a little pricey for my college budget.  But it was quick to make, and sweet (which goes great with the salty crispy pancetta).  I did not add the mascarpone to reduce cost and calories, but it was still pretty creamy.  I also doubled the herbs and spices.  It may take longer to soften your pears if cubes are larger or smaller, so just check before you go to blend it.  Great recipe though: one pot, one hour, and one comforting meal.  I would recommend. 

    Reply

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