This simple recipe for vellutata di zucca (or pumpkin vellutata) from Italy is perfect for the onset of fall or winter and is surprisingly versatile. The smooth, creamy texture is unbelievable, and the flavors can vary tremendously depending on what spices, herbs, or garnishes you choose. Pumpkin, like most squash, is a great vehicle for flavors. Don’t like sage? Try it with a bit of curry, coriander, or nutmeg. You would be surprised how the taste changes, but still lets the squash itself shine through.
The texture of the Italian pumpkin soup should be smooth and velvety, so make sure to blend it properly. I recommend a proper blender and not a hand-held immersion wand, as I think it yields a smoother result. You can use any type of pumpkin you want, or you can use other types of squash as well, such as butternut or acorn.
I first tried this vellutata soup during a blustery February day in Venice. It warmed me from the inside out, as all good soups should! You will also see it called zuppa di zucca, but that sometimes is a slightly different, less velvety soup (vellutata in Italian means velvety!).
A fall cooking vacation is a perfect way to experience autumnal ingredients! Contact us for information on all our culinary tours.
Vellutata di Zucca (Winter Squash Soup)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 to 25 minutes
Cook method: Simmer
- 1 lb. pulp from any type of cooking pumpkin/squash
- 1 pint (or more) of vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 shallot
- 4 sage leaves (fresh)
- Olive oil
Optional garnishes: roasted pumpkin seeds, crumbled amaretti biscuits, parmigiano reggiano, goat cheese, salted ricotta cheese, homemade bread crumbs or croutons, fresh herbs, balsamic reduction, creme fraiche… the possibilities are endless!
1. Prepare the pumpkin/squash by peeling it and deseeding it. Then cut the pulp into 1/2 inch dice.
2. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet or dutch oven. Finely chop the shallot and sage until the shallot is soft and transparent.
3. Add the pumpkin, cook for a few minutes, then add the broth. Partially cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender and cooked through.
4. Remove the sage leaves. Puree the pumpkin mixture in a blender until smooth, using additional broth to thin as you prefer. (Alternately, you could pass it through a food mill.)
5. Serve hot with any combination of garnishes you prefer. Some of our favorites: roasted pumpkin seeds and goat cheese, crumbled amaretti biscuits and parmigiano reggiano, salted ricotta and fried sage leavesl, homemade bread crumbs or croutons, fresh herbs and a drizzle of cream.
By Peg Kern
Sign up to receive our newsletter, which includes travel tips, recipes, promotions, and information on our best cooking vacations.