I'm having soup for lunch today. Not just any soup. This is a pancetta and cannellini bean soup, and it is one of the most intensely flavored, robust, satisfying soups I have ever had. That sounds over the top, I know. I'm embarrassed to be so effusive. But this soup, sold by chef Ryan Freelove of Market to Table Cuisine, deserves superlatives.
I first came across Chef Ryan during a cooking class at the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes' JW Griffin Cooking School. Then he was chief culinary dude at Bella Collina, where I was treated to a multi-course wine-tasting dinner with the posh community's way-fun residents.
Fast forward and I re-found Chef Ryan at the Winter Garden Farmers Market, where the young entrepreneur sold fancified kitchen staples--flavored butters, homemade chicken stock, vinaigrettes and such under the Market to Table Cuisine banner. (He's taking a break from there for the summer.) He also has a booth at Lake Eola's Orlando Farmers Market.
Recently Chef Ryan expanded his line and sells the wares Thursday through Sunday from a booth at the new, indoor Plant Street Market. I often pick up a bleu cheese dressing, say, or a maple-walnut butter, just to support a local business. That's how I came to own a pouch of the pancetta and cannellini bean soup: I walked by, saw that the ingredients are relatively low in fat--only the pancetta is a no-no, and handed Marlene, Chef Ryan's mother, my credit card.
Last night, while my lemon-rosemary chicken roasted, I microwaved--more shame!--two mugsful of the pancetta and cannellini bean soup. I'd forgotten I had it! The Hub was hungry! Nuking is fast!
OMG. OMG OMG OMG. Is that sage? we asked? I think it's sage. The flavor! The richness! We were shocked. We tend to prefer my cooking over most others and rarely adore any packaged-to-go comestible.
We do love this soup. Chef Ryan, I hope you make more relatively low-fat soups and sell them at Plant Street Market. I see no reason to make my own if I can buy a soup that's this good.
Eat enthusiastically, Rona