- 3 butternut pumpkins (about 1.2kg each), unpeeled, quartered, seeds removed
- 100 ml olive oil
- 40 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 2 Spanish onions, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 130 gm round mild pancetta, finely chopped
- 2 litres (8 cups) chicken stock
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves, plus extra to serve
- 90 gm finely grated parmesan
- 1½ tsp red wine vinegar
- To serve: crisp pancetta (optional)
- 100 gm butter, softened
- 75 gm finely grated parmesan
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 24 thin baguette slices
- 1Preheat oven to 200C. Place pumpkin skin-side down on an oven tray lined with baking paper, drizzle with 40ml olive oil, season to taste, roast until very tender and caramelised (50 minutes-1 hour). Scoop flesh out of skins (discard skins), set aside.
- 2Heat butter and remaining olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and garlic, sauté until golden (6-8 minutes). Add pancetta, sauté until crisp (2-3 minutes), add pumpkin, stock and thyme. Bring to the simmer, cook until flavours infuse (8-10 minutes). Process with a hand-held blender until very smooth, stir through parmesan and vinegar, season to taste and keep warm.
- 3For parmesan toast, preheat grill to high. Combine all ingredients except bread in a bowl. Grill one side of bread slices until golden (1-2 minutes), turn and spread with parmesan butter. Grill until golden (1-2 minutes), serve with soup topped with crisp pancetta and extra thyme.
Drink Suggestion: Pale ale. Drink suggestion by Max Allen