Butternut squash soup with caramelized pumpkin seeds, bacon and parmesan crisps

Fall vibes: falling red and yellow leaves, pungent air, festive movies, warming spices, amazing tastes, lovely products.

In my family (as most of the Italian ones), we’re used to have dinner all together, seated around the table and talking about what we’ve done that day. It’s probably the most important and precious moment, when we can discuss and really feel in as safe place, surrounded by people who truly love us. In Italy, having a meal together is an important tradition: we forget about the rest of the world, no pressures, no worries; just love, smiles and, obviously, incredible food.

Especially my family’s always in a hurry, but this is not an excuse to turn down the idea of real comfort food, made with seasonal products.

So today I’m sharing with you guys an incredible autumn recipe, full of warming spices and delicious flavors: butternut squash soup with caramelized pumpkin seeds, bacon and parmesan crisps.

 

Butternut squash soup with caramelized pumpkin seeds, bacon and parmesan crisps.

 

It could be an irresistible appetizer or a stunning main course: that’s totally up to you! The great thing about this soup is that you can make everything ahead. Furthermore, it will definitely make your family seat together and enjoy this incredible soup.

The aromatic cinnamon flavor goes perfectly well with the butternut squash, the caramelized pumpkin seeds balance the savory bacon beautifully, and the crispy, but chewy at the same time parmesan crisps will definitely make you forget those bland soups: this recipe is all about different textures and flavors.

 

INGREDIENTS:

For the butternut squash soup:

  • 500 grams (17 Oz) butternut squash (peeled and deseeded)
  • 300 grams (10 Oz)  potatoes (peeled)
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • about 500 ml (2 cups) hot vegetable broth
  • 20 grams (2 tbsp) cream
  • 2 bacon slices (about 0,5 cm thick)

For the caramelized pumpkin seeds:

  • 3o grams (3 tbs) salted pumpkin seeds
  • pinch of paprika
  • 1 tsp honey
  • about 1 1/2 tsp olive oil

For the parmesan crisps:

  • grated parmesan cheese as needed
  • parchment paper

To garnish:

  • cream (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper

note: click here to find out how to make an incredible vegetable broth from scratch, which is perfect for this recipe!

METHOD:

For the butternut squash soup:

  1. first thing first, peel and chop up onion and garlic (just peel it, do not chop it); repeat the same process with the potatoes and the butternut squash, cutting them into 2-2,5 cm cubes. Put a very large saucepan on a medium-low heat and pour in a couple of lugs of olive oil. Then add the chopped onion and the peeled garlic clove. Let the onion soften (about 5-8 minutes). If you want to make this step faster, simply add some hot vegetable broth. Once the onion will be soft, remove the garlic clove, season with salt and then add the chopped and peeled potatoes, together with a spoonful of hot vegetable broth, so that the potatoes don’t burn. Cook on medium heat for about 8 min. Now add the chopped and deseeded butternut squash and cover almost to the top with the hot vegetable broth. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg and let that cook covered with a lid for about 20-25 min. or just until the potatoes will be soft and almost become mushy. Stir occasionally. Make sure to remove the lid the least 5-10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, so that a little bit of the liquids can evaporate. As soon as the veggies will be done, turn the heat off and start blending them using an immersion blender / stick blender (about 3 min.). In case the soup will seem a bit too thick, simply add some vegetable broth. As soon as all the veggies will be almost completely blended, add the cream and blend for 30 seconds/ 1 min. more. The consistency you’re looking for is a velvety, smooth, almost “custard-style” consistency. Cover with a lid and set aside.

For the bacon:

  1. cut the bacon slices into 0,5 cm wide stripes and place them in a cool frying pan (without any additional fats). Gradually turn the heat on and start cooking the bacon stripes on low heat for about 5-8 min. or just until it’ll become crispy, golden and brown. Starting with a cold pan and gradually heating the bacon is crucial if you want to get a super crispy and delicious bacon: in fact, doing in this way, you won’t burn the fats. As soon as the bacon is perfectly cooked, remove it from the heat and transfer it onto a sheet of kitchen paper, so that the excess fat will be eliminated.

For the caramelized pumpkin seeds:

  1. in a skillet, heat on high heat about 1 1/2 tsp of olive oil and, as soon as it is quite hot, start adding the pumpkin seeds, along with a pinch of paprika. Sauté the seeds on high heat for about 1-2 min. Then, remove it from the heat and add the honey. Stir until the seeds are completely coated into the honey and then arrange them in an even layer on a sheet of parchment paper. Set aside.

For the parmesan crisps:

  1. simply, cut about 4 squares (1 per person) of parchment paper (about 7 cm). At this point, arrange about 1 tsp of grated parmesan cheese over each parchment square, making sure to level it out. Heat on high heat a large skillet and, as soon as it gets really hot, place the squares into the skillet, keeping the parchment paper: this will prevent the cheese to stick to the pan and, above all, it’ll be a way easier to take it out of the skillet. Keep an eye on the crisps while they’re cooking: as a matter of fact, they can burn pretty quickly. What you’re lookinng for is a slightly goden and brown color, about 30-40 seconds of cooking time. As soon as they’re ready, simply let the parmesan crisps glide out of the skillet (it’ll be so easy thanks to the parchment paper) and let it cool and set for a few minutes. When they harden, very gently remove the parchment paper and set aside. Your amazing (and super easy) parmesan crisps are ready!

To serve:

  1. In a soup dish, pour 1 – 1 1/2 spoonful of the butternut squash soup, place at the really center some caramelized pumpkin seeds, roughly sprinkle some bacon strips, place the parmesan crisps on the side and, if you want to, drizzle some cream on the top. Eventually, some freshly ground black pepper would be lovely.

 

Cooking the potatoes.

 

Cooking the veggies: cover with vegetable broth almost completely to the top.

Cooking the veggies: cover with vegetable broth almost completely to the top.

 

The cooked butternut squash.

The cooked butternut squash.

 

Blending the veggies.

Blending the veggies together with the cream.

 

The crispy bacon.

The crispy bacon.

 

Caramelized pumpkin seeds.

Caramelized pumpkin seeds.

 

When your parmesan crisps look like this, you can remove them from the skillet. As you can see, it's slightly golden and brown at the edges.

When your parmesan crisp looks like this, you can remove them from the skillet. As you can see, it’s slightly golden and brown at the edges.

 

 

 

Let’s fall in love with all those autumn vibes: their flavors, their charm and aromas.

This is my version of the butternut squash soup, I’m waiting for yours.

XOXO Cooker Girl.

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