I have always loved the foods of fall, but for some reason, I am particularly enamored with chestnuts and winter squash this year. It used to be challenging to find a variety of winter squash in Italy, apart from the green squash sold everywhere that is simply named zucca. Recently, however, I found a large variety of different squash available at stores and outdoor markets. This tasty squash soup recipe is a variation of a soup recipe I make every fall. This year I decided to add roasted pears to roasted butternut squash to add a little extra sweetness. I always start my soup with a saute of onions and garlic in butter, which lays a flavor base for the soup creating a full-bodied, not too sweet soup. You could add some finely chopped fresh ginger in with the onions and garlic if you like. The ginger adds a brightness that is also delicious!
I also always roast my fresh squash first before using it, to increase the flavor that develops through caramelization when vegetables are baked. I also roasted the pears to add depth to their taste as well. This soup is blended smooth, which creates a creamy texture that doesn’t require the addition of heavy cream to thicken it. I use my hand immersion blender, which works perfectly for jobs like this, but any blender or food processor will work. The amount of broth needed for the soup will depend on how much moisture is in your squash, as well as how thick you prefer your soup to be. Just allow the soup to cool a bit before blending it to prevent boiling hot soup from flying around your kitchen.
This soup turned out even better than I had hoped and would be a perfect choice for Thanksgiving or to begin any special fall dinner. The soup is best served warm and not too hot so you can taste the complexity of flavors. Since the flavors seem to develop further the day after it is made, it is a great soup to make the day before you plan on serving it. Just allow the soup to cool, then refrigerate it until needed, and reheat gently, adding a little additional broth if the soup seems too thick.
You can garnish this soup with a variety of different options such as a dollop of sour cream, a spoonful of diced pears and chopped roasted chestnuts sauteed in butter, some chopped fresh greens such as watercress. I also include the garnish I used in the photos with the recipe below.
Deborah Mele Revised 2021
- 3 Small Onions, Peeled & Diced
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 3 cloves Garlic, Peeled & Minced
- 1-inch Piece Fresh Ginger, Grated
- 2 Small Pears, Peeled, Cored, Roasted & Coarsely Chopped (See Notes Below)
- 4 Cups Roasted Winter Squash Flesh (See Notes Above)
- Salt & Pepper
- 2+ Cups Chicken Broth (Approximate)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 Cup Stale Cubed Bread Croutons
- 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Pancetta
- 2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 3 Teaspoons Finely Chopped Parsley or Celery Leaves
- To Roast Pumpkin And Pears: Cut the pumpkin into thick slices, removing seeds and stringy loose flesh inside, reserving seeds for roasting.
- Cut the pears in half, peel and core.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the pumpkin and pears on top, then bake in a preheated 375 degree F. oven until both the pears and pumpkin are fork tender and beginning to brown, about 25 minutes for the pears and 45 minutes for the pumpkin.
- Allow to cool and scoop out the pumpkin flesh keeping 4 cups for the soup and reserving rest for another use.
- Chop the pears coarsely.
- In a heavy soup pot heat the butter and add the onions.
- Cook over medium low heat until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown.
- Add the garlic and ginger, and cook an additional couple of minutes.
- Add the pumpkin and pears and about 2 cups of broth.
- Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Blend, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed, and adding additional broth if soup is too thick.
- To Make the garnish, heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the pancetta.
- Cook the pancetta until no longer pink, then add the bread cubes, salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring often until the bread is golden brown.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley or celery leaves.
- Reheat soup, then serve soup warm with garnish, or your garnish of choice.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 170Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 427mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g