photo: my_amil via flickr 

Nothing goes with all those cozy sweaters and falling leaves like a hearty pumpkin soup. This is the best time of year to make a batch from scratch since you can use the abundance of fresh pumpkin in the supermarket or use up your Halloween decorations to create it. Add a nice hunk of bread and a salad on the side, or top with fresh asparagus and potatoes, and you have a warm and balanced meal to usher in the season.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 pound pumpkin, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Optional: asparagus (lightly steamed) and/or diced potatoes (steamed or roasted)

Method:

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring.

2. Add pumpkin and cook 3 minutes, until lightly softened.

3. Add stock and paste and stir to mix. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower to a simmer, and cover. Cook 20 minutes, until pumpkin is very tender.

4. Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Add cheese, salt, and pepper; mix and serve warm.

5. If serving with asparagus, lightly steam and add two or three spears diced to add a punch of color.

Recipe adapted from pumpkinrecipes.org