Put down your latte, it’s time for pumpkin soup!

It’s Pumpkin Spiced Latte time again, and the fact that you probably know exactly what I’m talking about is a testament to its popularity. While the fall-inspired coffee drink doesn’t actually contain any pumpkin, it does herald the beginning of the fall food (and drink) season, and every year it seems to come just a bit earlier.

So, in an effort to beat the parade of pumpkin recipes, I thought this year I’d kick it off with one of my favorites, Creamy Pumpkin Soup With Amaretti.

All summer long we’ve been enjoying the warm weather, which doesn’t necessarily inspire most of us to get soup simmering on the stove. But the frost will soon be on the pumpkin and it’s time to start thinking about how to mix up our fall cooking repertoire.

If you’ve never cooked pumpkin soup, let me assure you, it’s incredibly easy and perfect for a crisp autumn evening. Just sauté a little onion, add some canned pumpkin and broth. Borrow that little shaker of pumpkin spice from your local barista, splash in a little cream and you’re done. If you want to ramp up the elegance, blitz it in your blender or food processor until it’s silky smooth.

For a variation, replace the pumpkin with 1 ½ cups roasted butternut squash. Just cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, place cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees until soft, about 30 to 40 minutes. Then scoop out and add to the soup. You may want to add a little less broth to start, just in case your squash is on the watery side.

Instead of the traditional pumpkin spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger), I like to add amaretti, an addictive little Italian cookie. Light and crispy, these almond macaroons give the soup a subtle sweetness that seems to amplify the pumpkin flavor.

Even better, if you have any cookies left (and you will) you can enjoy them with a hot, steamy cup of that flavored latte.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup With Amaretti

Serves 6.

Note: Amaretti are light and crispy Italian almond macaroons. They are widely available in the cookie aisle of most supermarkets. In this soup, the amaretti add a slight sweetness, which enhances the pumpkin flavor beautifully, without overpowering it or making the soup too sweet. From Meredith Deeds.

• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1 large onion, thinly sliced

• 1 garlic clove, minced

• 1 (15 oz.) can puréed pumpkin

• 4 c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 8 amaretti cookies, crumbled, plus more for garnish

• 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

• 1/2 c. heavy cream

• 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar

Directions

In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes, or until they start to brown. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin, broth, salt, nutmeg and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

Add the amaretti cookies and Parmesan cheese to the soup and cook for a minute or two to allow the cookies to soften. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Purée the soup in a blender until smooth. You may need to work in 2 or 3 batches. (To avoid splattering when pureeing hot liquids in a blender: Never fill the blender jar more than halfway. Remove the lid insert or leave the lid ajar. Cover the top of the blender with a kitchen towel.)

Pour soup back into the saucepan and add the cream and vinegar. Continue to cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until hot.

Divide into soups bowls and garnish with any remaining amaretti and cheese.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 200 Fat 14 g Sodium 335 mg

Carbohydrates 14 g Saturated fat 8 g Total sugars 5 g

Protein 7 g Cholesterol 40 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 carb, 1 medium-fat protein, 2 fat.

 

Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at meredith@meredithdeeds.com. Follow her on Twitter ­at @meredithdeeds.