Portobello, Pancetta & Mascarpone Soup

Makes 6-8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 8 oz. pancetta, diced
  • 4 leeks (white and light green parts only), well washed and thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 (5") Portobello mushroom caps, stemmed and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry (optional)
  • 2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 c. half-and-half
  • 4 oz. mascarpone
  • 4 oz. Joan of Arc® Goat Cheese with Garlic & Herbs

Instructions:

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until browned, 5–8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. To the saucepan, add 1/2 tablespoon butter, 1 cup of the leeks, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook 4 minutes, then remove to the plate; set aside.

Add the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons butter, leeks, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste to the pan; cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. If desired, stir in 2 tablespoons sherry, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon and cooking until the sherry evaporates. Add the broth and 2 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the mushrooms are tender, 8–10 minutes.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. Return to the pot, whisk in the half and half, mascarpone and goat cheese, and bring just to below a boil. Stir in three-quarters of the pancetta-leek mixture, then portion the soup into bowls, topping it with a bit of the remaining pancetta-leek mixture.

Chef’s Notes:

This dish can be made ahead of time and reheated when needed. It can also be frozen for up to a month in a sealed airtight container.

There are few things as comforting as creamy mushroom soup. Sweet mascarpone heightens the richness and gives this soup a luxurious texture, and pancetta crisps lend a subtle and inviting saltiness to each bite.

Variations:

Change up the dish by adding grilled chicken. Instead of pancetta, you can also use ham or bacon.

Best season:

This dish is best served during the cold fall and winter months.

Photo & recipe courtesy of Chef Eric LeVine