Pumpkin and White Bean Soup

The quintessential fall pasta dish inspires a soup with similar flavors.

Photo by: Photo courtesy of the New England Soup Factory cookbook

Photo courtesy of the New England Soup Factory cookbook

Don't fill that glass pumpkin-shaped bowl up with candy! Use it to serve steamy ladlefuls of pumpkin and white bean soup.

Ghouls and goblins may be the symbols of the season, but nothing says fall like a shallow bowl of butternut squash ravioli glazed with brown butter. It's a dish that has inspired many a diner to lean over the table, close their eyes and inhale deeply before digging in. 

Marjorie Drucker, executive chef and co-owner of the New England Soup Factory in Newton, Massachusetts and the author of the New England Soup Factory Cookbook, was so inspired by the dish, she created a soup with the same flavors. 

"I had a magnificent brown butter squash ravioli at Olives restaurant near Boston, chef-owner Todd English's home base," she says. "I had to see if I could make a soup that reminded me of its perfectly balanced flavors. I played with the spices and ingredients, and found that white beans gave me better results than pasta. This is my favorite pumpkin soup recipe, and whenever I taste it, it reminds me of that meals at Olives." 

Pumpkin and White Bean Soup

Courtesy of Marjorie Druker, executive chef and co-owner of New England Soup Factory in Newton, Massachusetts

Yields 12-14 servings

  • 2 ½ pounds pumpkin, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes, divided
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 large Spanish onion, peeled and chipped
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 10 cups chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon rubbed sage
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
  • ½ cup cream sherry
  • 2 cups cooked cannellini beans
  • ¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place 3 cups of the pumpkin in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until soft and brown on the outer edges. Set aside. 

Melt the butter in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, celery and carrots. Saute for 5 minutes. Add the remaining pumpkin and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Add the stock, sage and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot and simmer for 30-35 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and tender. Remove from the heat and add the brown sugar, cheese and sherry. 

Puree the soup in the pot using a hand blender or working in batches with a regular blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cannellini beans and the reserved pumpkin chunks. Stir well. Serve in big, deep bowls with the basil leaves and freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.

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