November 24, 2021
I’ve always loved the food of fall, but for some reason I’m especially in love with chestnuts and winter squash this year. It used to be difficult to find a wide variety of winter squash in Italy, apart from the widely sold green squash, which is simply called Zucca. Recently, however, I found a wide variety of different pumpkins available in stores and outdoor markets. This delicious pumpkin soup recipe is a variation on a soup recipe I make every fall. This year I decided to add roasted pears to roasted butternut squash for a little more sweetness. I always start my soup with a sauce of onions and garlic in butter, which forms a flavor base for the soup and creates a full-bodied, not too sweet soup. If you like, you can add some finely chopped fresh ginger with the onions and garlic. The ginger adds a brightness that is delicious too!
Also, I always roast my fresh pumpkin first before using it to enhance the flavor that develops from the caramelization when baking vegetables. I also roasted the pears to add depth to their flavor. This soup is blended smoothly, creating a creamy texture that doesn’t require the addition of cream to thicken it. I use my hand blender, which works perfectly for jobs like this, but any blender or food processor will work. The amount of broth needed for the soup depends on how much moisture there is in your pumpkin and how thick you prefer your soup. Just let the soup cool down a bit before blending it to prevent scalding soup from flying around your kitchen.
This soup just got better than I hoped and would be a perfect choice for Thanksgiving or to start a special fall dinner. The soup is best served warm, not too hot, so you can taste the complexity of the flavors. Since the flavors seem to evolve the day after it’s made, it’s a great soup to make the day before serving. Just let the soup cool, then put it in the refrigerator until needed and gently heat it. Add some extra stock if the soup seems too thick.
You can garnish this soup with a variety of different options like a dollop of sour cream, a spoonful of diced pears and chopped roasted chestnuts in butter, some chopped fresh vegetables like watercress. I also add the topping that I used in the photos with the recipe below.
Deborah Mele revised 2021
3 small onions, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons of butter
3 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 small pears, peeled, pitted, roasted and roughly chopped (see notes below)
4 cups of roasted winter squash (see notes above)
2+ cups of chicken broth (approximately)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 cup stale bread dice croutons
3 tablespoons of finely chopped pancetta
2 teaspoons of olive oil
3 teaspoons of finely chopped parsley or celery leaves
- Toast pumpkin and pears: Cut the pumpkin into thick slices, remove the seeds and the fibrous loose pulp inside, and save the seeds for frying.
- Halve, peel and core the pears.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the pumpkin and pears on top, then bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F until both the pears and pumpkin are fork-tender and begin to brown, about 25 minutes for the pears and 45 minutes for the pumpkin.
- Let cool and scrape out the pumpkin flesh, save 4 cups for the soup and reserve the rest for another use.
- Roughly chop the pears.
- Heat the butter in a heavy soup pot and add the onions.
- Fry over medium heat until the onions are translucent and begin to brown.
- Add garlic and ginger and cook more minutes.
- Add the pumpkin and pears and about 2 cups of stock.
- Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Mix, then season to taste and adjust the seasonings as needed and add additional broth if the soup is too thick.
- To make the garnish, heat the oil in a pan and then add the pancetta.
- Cook the pancetta until it is no longer pink, then add the bread cubes, salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until the bread is golden brown.
- Remove from heat and stir in the parsley or celery leaves.
- Warm the soup and then serve the soup warm with a side dish or a side dish of your choice.
Serving size: 2 cups
Amount per serving:
Calories: 170Total fat: 10gSaturated fatty acids: 4gTrans fat: 0gUnsaturated fat: 5gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 427 mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g