Kabocha Squash Soup with Browned Butter, Sage, and Pancetta

This roasted kabocha squash soup with browned butter, sage, and pancetta is utterly delicious! It is silky smooth and full of fall flavor.

The kabocha squash becomes caramelized and sweet after roasting it in the oven. Kabocha is one of the sweetest winter squashes and it has dense, smooth flesh that is not watery at all, making it perfect for soup. Few things pair better with winter squash than browned butter! And although I am a browned butter fan year-round, having it in the fall and winter just feels right. The browned butter, creamy roasted squash, and bone broth make this soup taste super rich without adding any cream. A bit of sage and salt is all you need to season the soup and give it more fall flavor.

The base is absolutely fantastic on its own, but pancetta and fried sage make for some delicious toppings. The pancetta is fried until crispy then the sage leaves are fried right in the pancetta fat – because, why not! The pancetta can be left out to make this soup vegetarian. If you do so, a great sub is topping the soup with the kabocha seeds, toasted with a bit of smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.

While this squash soup has a number of steps, altogether it is easy to make. After roasting the squash, sweating some onions and garlic, and browning the butter, everything is thrown together and simmered. Then the soup is blended to creamy perfection. It is best to let the soup sit overnight in the fridge to let the flavors really develop. Then when you are ready to serve, simply reheat the soup and fry up the pancetta and sage leaves for topping.


Kabocha Squash Soup with Browned Butter, Sage, and Pancetta

Servings: makes about 6 cups or 4 servings
Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 kabocha squash, about 3 lbs.
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 4-5 cups of bone broth (I used beef)
  • 1/2 tbsp. chopped sage, plus more for topping
  • 4 ounces of cubed pancetta (Pancetta Cubetti)
  • salt

How-to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Peel the kabocha squash, scrape out seeds, and cut into chunks.
  3. Toss squash in a bit of oil and salt and roast on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. Flip and roast for an additional 15 minutes until squash is soft and browned.
  4. When squash is almost done, add one tablespoon of the butter to a large sauce pan with a lid over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté an additional minute.
  5. Meanwhile, add 3 tbsp. butter to a small pan and heat over medium until butter solids turn dark brown and butter smells like caramel. Be sure to stir regularly to scrape bits from the bottom. Do not overcook or butter solids will burn and browned butter will taste bitter.
  6. Add the roasted squash to the onion and garlic. Add four cups of broth, brown butter, sage, maple syrup, and a few generous pinches of salt.
  7. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 25 minutes.
  8. Blend soup until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Optionally, add some or all of the additional cup of broth to bring soup to desired consistency.
  9. Serve right away or, for best flavor, refrigerate overnight then reheat over medium low until it comes to desired temperature and serve.
  10. For topping: in a skillet over medium, add pancetta cubes. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until fat renders and pancetta becomes crispy. Remove to paper towels, reserving the fat in the skillet. Slice sage leaves and toss in pancetta fat. Let fry until dark green and crisp, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove and drain on paper towels.

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