- 3 ounces pancetta, chopped (optional)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup sliced shallots
- 1 bulb fennel, cored and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 5 pears – peeled, cored and chopped
- 1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
- 4 to 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, for serving (optional)
Fry pancetta in a large soup pot until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Reserve 1 tablespoon fat.
Melt butter with reserved pancetta fat over medium heat. Add shallots and fennel and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add pears and potatoes and cover with broth. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and carefully blend, either with an immersion blender or in batches in a standing blender. Return soup to the pot and season with salt and pepper.
Serve soup sprinkled with pancetta and cheese.