Soup Sundays: Pasta And Pancetta Soup

Pasta and pancetta soup

So I cheated a little with this pasta and pancetta soup: I used store-bought chicken stock. I've been having fun making my own stock but it is pretty time-consuming, and with skipping the homemade stock, this soup sounded easy enough to make on a weeknight. So I cheated a little more on my weekend soup-making goal and went ahead and made this on a weeknight.

I started by sautéing onion and pancetta, which provide a robust flavor base for the soup. Then I stirred in potato chunks and carrots. The potatoes add a rustic feel and texture to the soup and the carrots a little sweetness. I simmered everything in the stock with a small piece of Parmesan cheese rind for an extra boost of flavor.

Ingredients for pasta and pancetta soup

While the soup simmered, I simply cooked up some pasta on the side. And to finish it off, I stirred in diced tomatoes.

I filled our bowls with pasta, ladled soup on top, and sprinkled a little shredded Parmesan over everything.

Pasta and pancetta soup

I really liked the flavor of the soup and all the pasta and potato pieces that made it so hearty, but I thought there was a bit too much pancetta, and I didn't love the texture of the pieces in contrast with everything else in the soup. I think if I made this soup again, I might just sauté about 3 ounces of pancetta for flavor and then discard the meat, using the fat to sauté the vegetables in. It would also probably make a great vegetarian soup with a little vegetable stock and no pancetta.

Pasta And Pancetta Soup
(adapted from Pasta Italiana via Leite's Culinaria)

Pasta and pancetta soup

This hearty soup is full of pancetta, rustic chunks of potato, 
and elbow macaroni and has just a hint of tomato.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings


61/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
9 ounces pancetta, diced
14 ounces russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
Small piece of Parmesan cheese rind, plus shredded Parmesan for serving
Salt and pepper
8 ounces elbow macaroni
1 cup Pomi Chopped Tomatoes and juice


Bring stock and water to gentle boil in large pot. Keep warm.

Heat oil in large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onion until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add pancetta and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently with wooden spoon. Add potatoes and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 2 minutes.

Onion and pancetta for pasta and pancetta soupVegetables and pancetta for pasta and pancetta soup

Pour in warm stock mixture, add Parmesan cheese rind, and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Simmering pasta and pancetta soup

Bring large pot of salted water to boil for pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside. (You can stir a little olive into the pasta to keep it from sticking together.)

Discard Parmesan cheese rind from soup. Add chopped tomatoes and juice and season soup with salt and pepper to taste.

Add pasta to individual bowls and ladle soup over. 

Pasta and pancetta soup

Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Pasta and pancetta soup

Note: Unless you plan to eat all the soup in one sitting, do not add the pasta to the pot of soup. Keep it on the side or you will end up with mushy blown-out noodles and very little broth. Also, the soup calls for 14 ounces of potato, which is a little more than one potato. I don't think it would harm the soup to just use one potato.

What's your favorite Italian soup?

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