My dad recently introduced us to the Two Greedy Italians series. The Two Greedy Italians consist of Gennaro Contaldo and Antonio Carluccio, two prominent Italian chefs from the UK. Each episode in this series is spent in a different town in Italy, eating and cooking the local delicacies as well as mixing with the local people all while they continually bait each other like teenage boys and reminisce of what Italy was like when they were children. It really is food porn for Italian food lovers.
But the real reason I’ve become hooked on this show is that Antonio Carluccio is my dad’s doppelganger – down to his personality, mannerisms and habits, they are so identical to my dad it’s quite uncanny. Anyway one of Antonio’s philosophies for cooking is MOF MOF cuisine. Minimum of Fuss, Maximum of Flavour and I completely agree that if you have fresh seasonal ingredients you don’t actually need to do much to have a dish that is full of flavour.
This pumpkin soup is just that - not a lot of fuss but a hell of a lot of flavour. Most pumpkin soup recipes just require you to boil the pumpkin in stock and then blend. Instead of boiling this recipe roasts the pumpkin along with a garlic bulb and herbs. The flavour that the roasting imparts on the pumpkin soup gives it so much more depth that I promise you once you roast your pumpkin soup you’ll never look back…I haven’t.
As a garnish I’ve also roasted some pumpkin seeds (pepitas) in some spices and this adds a really lovely textural element to the dish – kinda like croutons. Obviously this is purely optional and you can choose to serve your pumpkin soup as is or with a swirl of cream, creme fraiche or extra virgin olive oil.
Roasted pumpkin soup
What you need:
- 1 medium pumpkin – you can use whatever type you prefer but I found that Kent was sweeter and more intense in flavour than Butternut.
- 3 sprigs of rosemary
- 1 bulb of garlic
- salt & pepper
- 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup pepitas
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- pinch of salt
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
If you’re preparing the garnish, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and spread in a single layer on a baking tray and roast for 5-8 mins. Let it cool.
Cut the pumpkin into about 4cm chunks. You don’t need to take the skin off at this stage. Spread the pumpkin on a baking tray. Break up the garlic bulb into individual cloves and scatter amongst the pumpkin and place the rosemary sprigs on top. Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 45 mins or until cooked and softened.
Scrape the pumpkin from the skin into a large saucepan and squeeze the flesh of the garlic from the skin. You don’t need to use all the garlic cloves, you can start with a few and add more if want more of a garlic flavour. Because they are roasted the flavour of the garlic is beautifully mild and sweet, so don’t be afraid. Add half the stock and with a stick blender, blend until smooth. You can use a blender if you don’t have a hand-held stick blender.
Put the saucepan on medium heat and warm the pumpkin soup without bringing to a boil. Add more stock to get to the consistency that you like and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with a sprinkling of the pepitas and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. As mentioned you can also serve with a swirl of cream or creme fraiche or it’s delicious just as is!