In a food processor, or with a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic and lemongrass into a paste. In a wok or large skillet, bring chicken broth to a boil. Add garlic mixture and curry paste; stir to dissolve paste. Add squash and simmer for 15 minutes or until squash is tender.
Stir in coconut milk and return to a simmer. Add sugar and white pepper. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Remove any large pieces of lemongrass. Cool slightly and puree in a food processor or blender.
For the pancetta, heat a sauté pan and cook the diced pancetta until crisp. Garnish warm soup with the diced pancetta and sprigs of fresh cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.
Shredded cooked chicken or Maryland crab meat could be sprinkled on the surface of the bisque as a garnish. Lemongrass is optional in this recipe. It can be replaced with 2 teaspoons of lime juice.
Make it vegan by switching to vegetable stock and omitting the pancetta. Garnish with pepita seeds.
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