Spiced Pumpkin Soup


We returned from Sardinia last week to find that fall has arrived in Umbria which is very welcome after the scorcher of a summer that we had. The temperatures are cooler now, the days are getting shorter, and the traditional fall and winter vegetables are beginning to show up in the markets and grocery stores. Our handyman recently brought me a huge pumpkin, called zucca here in Umbria. It is a green squash with luscious orange flesh that I use for both savory and sweet dishes. It is rare to find other winter squash such as acorn or butternut squash here, and pumpkin is instead used for just about everything. Although I love the flavor of our pumpkins, the flesh tends to be quite wet, so I often bake the pumpkin, puree the flesh, and then drain it in a sieve for an hour or so. Because the meat of these pumpkins is not as dense as say that of a butternut squash, when making soup with it, I usually add either a potato, sweet potato, or carrots to give it more body. I usually roast up an entire pumpkin in wedges, puree it, then store it in individual containers in my freezer to use in the future. I like this soup really thick and creamy, but if you prefer your soup a little looser, just add more broth until you reach your preferred consistency.

For this recipe, I added one medium sweet potato to my pumpkin flesh to thicken it up without having to use cream, and I added a few warm fall spices along with fresh ginger to celebrate the arrival of fall. For almost all of my soups, I like to start out with sautéed onions, carrots, and celery considered the Holy trinity in Italy which gives the soup a flavorful base to build on. I also added one cut up apple to add some subtle sweetness to the soup. This soup is full of flavor, rich and thick, and doesn’t need much of a garnish when serving. I suggest either a swirl of sour cream or Greek yogurt or some crisp homemade croutons as shown in the photos. You cannot find canned pumpkin in Italy, so I always prepare my own pureed pumpkin, but if you are using canned pumpkin just be sure it is just pumpkin, and not pumpkin pie filling.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2017

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, Peeled & Chopped
  • 2 Celery Stalks, Chopped
  • 2 Medium Carrots, Trimmed & Chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4 Cups Prepared Pumpkin Puree (See Notes Above)
  • 1 Medium Sweet Potato, Peeled & Chopped
  • 1 Medium Apples, Peeled & Chopped
  • 4 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock
  • 2 Teaspoons Minced Fresh Ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Red Chili Flakes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • Garnish of Choice (See Notes Above)

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy stock pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, celery, carrot, and garlic, and cook stirring often until the vegetables have softened, about five minutes.
  3. Add the pumpkin, sweet potato, apple, and stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the ginger, cinnamon, chili, cumin, salt and pepper.
  5. Continue to cook at a simmer until the sweet potato is very soft, about 20 minutes.
  6. Cool the soup, then puree in batches in a blender until very smooth. (You can also use a hand immersion blender if you prefer.)
  7. Warm the soup, then serve with garnish of choice.