Centenary Pancetta and Pumpkin Soup

Method

Serve up this silky, rich soup for a sophisticated starter. The combination of sweet roasted pumpkin and smoky pancetta is perfectly paired with crisp parmesan toast.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. To prepare the pumpkins, quarter each one and remove the seeds.
  3. Keeping the skins on, place the pumpkin skin-side down on a lined baking tray.
  4. Drizzle 40ml of the olive oil over the pumpkin, season to taste and roast for 50 minutes. It should be caramelised and very tender.
  5. Scoop the pumpkin flesh out, set aside and discard the skins.
  6. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the butter and remaining olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and sauté for 6 minutes, until golden.
  7. Next, add the pancetta and cook for 2 minutes until crisp.
  8. Add the pumpkin, stock and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  9. With a hand-held blender, blitz until smooth and creamy.
  10. Stir through the parmesan, red wine vinegar and season to taste. Keep warm until serving.
  11. For the parmesan toast, preheat the grill to high.
  12. In a bowl, mix the butter, parmesan and garlic until well combined.
  13. Grill the bread slices until golden on one side, then turn and spread each piece with parmesan butter.
  14. Grill for a further minute or two until golden.
  15. Pour the soup into bowls and top with crispy pancetta and an extra garnish of thyme. Serve with the parmesan toast.

Ingredients

Prep time: 20 Minutes

Cook time: 1.5 Hours

Serves: 8

  • 3 butternut pumpkins (approx. 1.2kg)

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 white onions, thinly sliced

  • 40g butter, cubed

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 130g pancetta, diced (extra for garnishing, optional)

  • 2 litres chicken stock

  • 90g parmesan, finely grated

  • 1tbsp thyme leaves

  • 1.5tsp red wine vinegar

  • For The Parmesan Toast:

  • 100g butter, softened

  • 75g parmesan, finely grated

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 2 baguettes, sliced