For Wolfgang Puck, there is no traditional Thanksgiving. (“Sometimes we stay home, sometimes we go out,” the two-time James Beard Outstanding Chef Award winner says.) But there is one staple no matter where he dines: pumpkin. He has it as agnolotti for an Italian spin or in soup for a more classic take. Puck uses a combination of acorn squash and butternut squash or pumpkin in this soup, found at Spago. See the recipe in Wolfgang Puck’s Pizza, Pasta, and More! (Random House).
Savory Squash Soup MAKES 2 QUARTS
33⁄4 lb. pumpkin or butternut squash
1 acorn squash
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 small white onion, finely diced
½ tsp. kosher salt 1⁄8 tsp. each ground white pepper and cardamom
¼ tsp. each ground nutmeg and ginger
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut each squash in half and discard the seeds. Brush cut sides with 2 tablespoons of melted butter and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Arrange the squash cut-side down on a rack placed in a baking tray and bake until tender, about 1½ hours. Cool, scoop out the insides of the squash, and purée in a food processor. Reserve. (You should have about 4 cups of puréed squash.)
In a medium stockpot, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Over low heat, sweat the onion. Do not allow it to brown. Add the squash and cook over very low heat until heated through, stirring occasionally. Do not allow it to bubble up. Season with the salt, pepper, ginger and cardamom. Pour in the stock, and bring to a boil, still over low heat, stirring often. Cook about 20 minutes. In a small saucepan, heat the cream with the rosemary sprig. Remove the rosemary, and pour the cream into the soup. Transfer to a blender or food processor and process, in batches, for 2 or 3 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste. To serve, ladle the soup into heated bowls. Top with garnish.