This butternut soup features pancetta and scallops, for a special meal or company!
Butternut squash soup is in regular rotation in my household, but when it comes to special dinners or holidays, here's an easy, delicious and elegant way to dress it up! By simply adding crispy, salty pancetta rounds, some beautifully seared scallops and fried sage, you can elevate your every-day soup to super special status.
The star of this soup is undoubtedly the succulent scallops. Always a treat, the scallops are seared to golden perfection in butter. I love that these scallops are caught wild, in their natural habitat, in the cold Atlantic waters of Iceland. They are always sweet, plump and delicious, just the way nature intended!
I know it's always nice to make dishes ahead when entertaining, so you'll be pleased to know that you can make this soup ahead and re-heat it to serve. You may need to add a touch more chicken broth to thin if it has been refrigerated. I like to cook up the pancetta in the oven while the soup is heating (or re-heating). I fry up the sage and scallops while the pancetta is in the oven. When it comes to the scallops, you'll really want to cook them up fresh. They only take a minute in a hot pan with butter!
If you want to be a bit more casual, you could also serve this soup by crumbling the pancetta and sage and scattering it on top. Then just top with scallops.
As with all soups, be sure to taste and season well at the end of cooking and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. If you taste your soup and you think it not full-flavoured, it needs salt :) Salt is just the thing to bring out all the great flavours in this soup.
Butternut Soup with Pancetta and Scallops
- 6 cups butternut squash, roasted, about 4 1/2 lbs. of squash
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1/2 cup McIntosh apple, peeled and shredded
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 6 rounds pancetta
- 6 large sage leaves
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 18 scallops, thawed
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Heavy cream, to drizzle
- Roast the squash: Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds and dark orange stringy flesh. Place the squash cut side down on to a baking sheet, using a baking sheet that allows the squash to lay completely flat. Use two baking sheets if necessary and rotate their position in the oven half way through roasting.
- Roast squash in pre-heated oven for 60-70 minutes or until very soft when you press on the top of the squash.
- Remove squash from oven. INCREASE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 425F. Using a spatula, flip the squash halves over and allow to cool a few minutes. Using a spoon, scoop all the roasted squash flesh out and in to a bowl, being careful not to take any of the skin. Discard squash skins. Measure out the amount of cooked squash needed for this recipe and set aside. Any extra squash can be refrigerated or frozen and used for another purpose.
- For the soup: In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook, stirring, until onion has softened and is translucent, but not browned. Add the measured roasted squash, shredded apple, salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine well. Bring to a light boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes to blend the flavours.
- While soup is simmering, place pancetta rounds on to a baking sheet and bake in preheated 425F oven until just crispy, about 7-8 minutes. Remove to a paper towel. For the sage, in a small skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the sage leaves and allow to cook 15-20 seconds, turning once. Do not allow to brown, as it will become bitter. Remove to a cooling rack.
- Using an immersion blender (or alternately in small batches in a blender) puree the soup well until completely smooth. In the soup pot, add the heavy cream to the pureed soup. Stir well to combine and allow to cook over medium-low heat a few minutes to warm through.
- Taste soup. Add additional salt as needed and some freshly ground pepper. You don't want to be skimpy with the salt! Salting well is the key to bringing out all the great flavours in this soup.
- Finally, cook the scallops. Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Dry the scallops with a paper towel then season with salt and pepper. Add scallops to skillet, leaving room in between. Let cook, undisturbed for 1 minute per side for small scallops up to 1 1/2 minutes per side for larger scallops or until golden. Remove to a plate.
- To serve: Spoon warm soup in to shallow bowls. Place a sage leave on the side. Place 3 small scallops on to a pancetta crisp and place over the sage leaf. Add a few drops of heavy cream to the soup.
Nutritional information provided for general guidance only and should not be relied upon to make personal health decisions.