Cauliflower Soup
Zuppa di Cavolfiori

serves: 2 quarts

I love soups, and I love cauliflower, and who doesn’t like pancetta? This is a delicious soup, and, yes, you can serve it as is, or you can add some cooked white or brown rice. Get yourself some crusty bread, a glass of Chianti Classico or Morellino (the other Tuscan red), and enjoy.

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
4 quarts cold water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving


Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot set over medium heat, and toss in the pancetta. Cook and stir until the pancetta renders its fat, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onion and carrot, cooking until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Pour in the water, and add 1 tablespoon of the salt. Partially cover, bring to a rapid simmer, and cook to develop the flavors, about 25 minutes. Add the cauliflower and lentils, and bring again to a rapid simmer.

Cook, uncovered, until the cauliflower has broken down and the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. Season with remaining salt. Serve soup in bowls, with a drizzle of olive oil and some grated cheese.