Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup with Pancetta and Sage

Total Time:
2 hr 20 min
Prep:
20 min
Inactive:
30 min
Cook:
1 hr 30 min

Yield:
8 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 1 (4-pound) kabocha squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 20 whole fresh sage leaves plus, 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 pound sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced -
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions
  • Roast squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roast squash, cut sides down, in an oiled roasting pan in middle of oven until tender, about 1 hour. Set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, scrape flesh from skin.

  • Fry sage leaves while squash roasts: Heat vegetable oil in a small, deep saucepan until it registers 365 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Fry sage leaves in 3 batches until crisp, about 3 to 5 seconds. Transfer leaves with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

  • Cook pancetta and make soup: Cook pancetta in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until browned. Transfer pancetta with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

  • Add olive oil to pancetta fat remaining in pot, then cook onion, stirring, until softened. Stir in garlic and chopped sage and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add squash, broth, and water and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors.

  • Puree soup in batches in a blender, transferring to a bowl. (Use caution when blending hot liquids.) Return soup to pot and reheat. If necessary, thin to desired consistency with water. Stir in vinegar and salt and pepper, to taste.

  • Serve sprinkled with pancetta and fried sage leaves.

  • Cook's Note: You can make this soup 3 days ahead and chill it, covered.


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