Butternut Squash Soup with Crispy Prosciutto

In this recipe, caramelized pears add a sweet note to classic butternut squash soup. Thin slices of prosciutto—an air-dried, salt-cured ham from Italy—are baked until crispy and used as a savory garnish.

They provide a pleasing textural contrast to the velvety soup, while lending just the right amount of saltiness and savor.

Butternut Squash Soup with Crispy Prosciutto

 

Ingredients

 

For the butternut squash puree:

  • 1 butternut squash, 2 1/2 to 3 lb. (1.25 to 1.5 kg)
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the soup:

  • 4 oz. (125 g) thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 red Anjou pears, cored and cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) slices
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) chicken broth, plus more if needed
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) half-and-half

 

Directions

1. Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly oil a baking sheet.

2. To make the butternut squash puree, cut the squash in half through the stem end and place, cut sides down, on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake until easily pierced with a knife, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).

3. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and fibers from the squash and discard. Spoon the flesh into a bowl.

4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and milk and heat until the butter melts and the milk is hot, about 1 minute.

Remove from the heat.

5. Using a potato masher, mash the squash until smooth.

Alternately, process the squash in a food processor, pulsing several times until smooth, about 1 minute.

Stir in the milk mixture and ginger and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

6. To make the soup, arrange the prosciutto slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 20 minutes.

Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the prosciutto cool completely.

7. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter.

Add enough pear slices to form a single layer and cook, turning once, until caramelized on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

Repeat to cook the remaining pears.

8. In the same pot over medium heat, melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter.

Add the celery and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Stir in the butternut squash puree, broth, thyme and half of the pears.

Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

9. Using a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth.

Return the soup to the pot and stir in the half-and-half.

Add more broth if needed to reach the desired consistency.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with the prosciutto and remaining pear slices. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

This post originally appeared on blog.williams-sonoma.com

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