Pumpkin and Pancetta Soup
“The hardest thing about making this soup is tackling the pumpkin-and that’s not very hard at all. Just use a sharp knife to cut it into quarters, use a large spoon to scrape the seeds out of each piece, then use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel. If the pumpkin is proving difficult to quarter, pierce it a few times, then microwave it for a couple of minutes, which will soften it up.”
Yield: Serves 6
- One 8-ounce piece pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice (you should have about 2 cups) (see below)
- One 2.5 lb. sugarpie pumpkin, other cooking pumpkin, or butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (you should have about 6 cups)
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves, divided
- 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- In a medium stockpot over medium heat, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and add the pumpkin, salt, pepper, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the sage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is brown and crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the broth, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is very soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the liquid cool slightly.
- Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor, add about half of the pancetta, and puree, scraping down the jar or bowl as necessary. Return the mixture to the pot and stir in the cream. (You can prepare the soup up to 3 days in advance. Cool it, then store it covered in the refrigerator.)
- If necessary, gently reheat the soup. Taste, ideally with your wine, and add more salt and/or pepper if you like. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining pancetta and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of sage.
Note: Pancetta is an Italian bacon that comes shaped into a sliceable, sausage-like roll. Because it’s not smoked, it has a slightly different flavor than American bacon. Pancetta is available at the deli counter of most major supermarkets, but if you can’t find it, substitute thick-sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch strips. Besides using it in this recipe, you can use pancetta in almost any other dish that calls for bacon.
Copyright Jill Silverman Hough. All rights reserved.
2011 Domaines Astruc Viognier This French Viognier has a light pale gold color and an intense nose with aromas of apricot, white peach, pear and honey. The mouth feel is very rich and aromatic with a long lasting finish. Best served with creamy cheeses, roasted chicken, shellfish, seafood and anything with butter, cream or a buttery/creamy sauce. Also enjoyable on its own as an aperitif.