Welcome to Friday Feast in the Tavern! With the holidays (and new book release) in full swing, I'm turning to something hearty and simple for my evening meals. Soups always beckon to me when the weather turns chilly, and this one is a twist on a classic. I love this time of year when you see all the variety of squashes at farmer markets and stores. From acorn, pumpkin, and butternut, I'm in my glory with them. I'll mix up casseroles, breads, treats, and savory stir-fry dishes.
This butternut squash soup is hearty and even better with a salad of arugula, tossed with tomatoes and feta cheese. Simple perfect, in my humble opinion. Here's the twist to the soup. I cook the onion, butternut squash, and garlic in the small amount of pancetta drippings after I've cooked some pancetta. This gives the soup an added flavor boost and is delicious!
And if pancetta isn't to your liking, you can always omit this ingredient.
Butternut Squash Soup with Pancetta
1 4-oz. package of chopped pancetta
2 pounds packaged, cubed butternut squash. (Or 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
6 cups warmed vegetable stock
1 teaspoon fresh, chopped sage
1 teaspoon fresh, chopped thyme
¾ cup of heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Pour vegetable stock into a small pot and heat on low simmer.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
Add the pancetta and cook until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl.
Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pot of drippings and add chopped onions. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the cubed butternut squash and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Pour in the vegetable stock, thyme, and sage into the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.
Stir in heavy cream.
Puree with an immersion blender or let cool slightly and use a blender. If using a blender, pour back into the pot to warm.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with pancetta sprinkled on top.