Chef Tom Catherall
3 lbs. white onions (3 or 4 large)
4 medium leeks
4 oz. pancetta, in 1 piece (aka Italian Bacon, pancetta is dry cured but not smoked pork belly. You should be able to find this in most grocery stores or Whole Foods Market. If you cannot find it, absolutely try the recipe with bacon, it will simply have a smokier flavor.)
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
6 c. chicken stock
3 to 4 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3/4 to 1 c. fruity red wine, such as Merlot or Beaujolais
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 slices rustic country-style bread
2 garlic cloves, peeled, halved
3 oz. Wisconsin Parmesan cheese, in 1 chunk
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
Peel onions and cut in half lengthwise. Thinly slice crosswise. Trim leeks and cut in half lengthwise. Slice crosswise in 1/4-inch slices, using 3 inches of pale green. Place leeks in cold water and rinse to remove dirt. Drain. Reserve onions and leeks.
Dice pancetta into 1/4-inch pieces. Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook until some of the fat has been rendered, about 5 minutes. Add onions and leeks. Sauté 20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add stock and simmer 30 minutes.
Stir vinegar, wine, salt and pepper into soup. Cook until thoroughly heated.
Toast bread slices in the oven and rub with peeled garlic clove halves.
Spoon soup into soup bowls. Float bread slices in soup. Add 4 or 5 shavings of the Parmesan cheese on top of each serving. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.