The perfect winter warmer……..who doesn’t love pumpkin soup?  Well here is one with a bit of a twist! Roast pumpkin and garlic blended with rich tomatoes and topped with home made pesto…..perfect for a crowd or freeze for a meal down the track.  This is also lovely to just have on the stove for an afternoon snack when the kids get home from school.

Prep time:  20 Minutes

Cooking time: 1 Hour

$$ Medium Budget

Serves 6 and any leftovers are suitable to freeze

Extra virgin olive oil for baking and frying

1.5kg of assorted pumpkin (I use Jap or Kent and Butternut)

1 large bulb of garlic

2 brown onions

1 tsp of dried oregano 

2 x 400gm tins of whole tomatoes

1 litre of chicken stock (vegetable for vegetarian option)

300ml of cream

2 tbs of honey

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling                                                                                                                                              

For the pesto:

1 bunch of fresh basil

1 clove of garlic

1/4 cup of pine nuts

1/2 a cup of grated parmesan

2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

A squeeze of lemon

Sea salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

To make the Roast Pumpkin soup, peel and cut the pumpkin into roasting sized pieces.  Slice the bulb of garlic in half cross ways and place the ingredients on a large, lined roasting pan and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake in the oven for 1/2 an hour or until the pumpkin is tender and golden.  While the pumpkin is baking, dice the two onions and fry until soft in a large soup pot with the dried oregano.  When the pumpkin is ready add it to the onion.

Hold the top of each half of the garlic bulbs (wait until they cool slightly) and gently squeeze the skin of the garlic so the flesh falls directly into the pot and the garlic will come out all pasty and golden.  Add the chicken stock and tomatoes (or veg stock if you want to make it completely vegetarian) season with salt and pepper and allow to simmer for about 1/2 an hour until all the ingredients are tender.  When the soup is cooked use a hand blender (less messy) or a normal blender to process the soup until thick and smooth.  Bring the soup back to a simmer and add 250ml of the cream and all of the honey, stir to combine.

To make the pesto, place the basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan, and a small amount of the oil in a food processor.  Season with salt and pepper and put the processor on medium while adding the remainder of the oil.

Ladle the Roast Pumpkin soup into large serving bowls.  Drizzle a little of the remaining cream into the bowls and gently top with a tablespoon of the pesto (a good trick for pouring the cream is to let it run over the back of a spoon, that way it won’t all sink to the bottom!).  Finish with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil and serve with crusty, warm ciabatta bread and of course a nice glass of red…..or two!!

Note*  To get the right consistency for a nice thick soup the stock should only just cover the pumpkin.  You can always add more after it is blended….

Leftover pesto?  You may want to try this……