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Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Fennel + Pumpkin Seed Pesto

750g (about 6 cups) pumpkin – cored, peeled and cubed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive
Few sprigs fresh thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium fennel bulb, fronds reserved – white part thinly sliced
4 cups low sodium or homemade vegetable stock (or a combination of stock and water)
Water, as needed
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup hulled (green) pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the pumpkin on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the three whole cloves of garlic and fresh thyme leaves. Roast in the oven until tender and golden, about 30 minutes.

In a skillet or heavy bottomed saucepan toast the pumpkin seeds until fragrant and crackling, about 5 minutes – set aside and let cool. Once cooled, add seeds, basil leaves, apple cider vinegar and 1 of the roasted garlic cloves to a small blender or food processor. Pulse the mixture while adding oil in a steady stream until the pesto is green and uniform. Season with salt and pepper.

In a saucepan, add the sliced fennel with a tablespoon of olive oil and cook until tender. Add the roasted pumpkin, 2 roasted garlic cloves, vegetable stock and water (if using) and bring everything to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly, then puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Add more water or stock if the consistency is too thick ( I added an extra cup or 2 of water here). Season with salt and pepper and bring soup to a simmer one last time before serving.

Top with a spoonful of pesto, extra seeds and thin fennel fronds.

www.happyheartedkitchen.com