Kabocha Squash Soup with Pancetta and Sage
By Chef Andrew Faulkner

Ingredients 

1 whole Kabocha Squash (4 pounds) halved and seeded 
1 cup Vegetable Oil 
20 whole Sage plus 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped 
1/4 pound Pancetta sliced and coarsely chopped 
1 tablespoon Olive Oil 
1 whole Onion chopped 
2 cloves Organic Garlic minced 
3 1/2 cups Chicken Broth 
3 1/2 cups Water 
1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar 

Directions 

Roast squash: 

Preheat oven to 400°F. 

Roast squash, cut sides down, in an oiled roasting pan in middle of oven until tender, about 1 hour. 

When cool enough to handle, scrape flesh from skin. 

Fry sage leaves while squash roasts: 

Heat vegetable oil in a deep small saucepan until it registers 365°F on a deep-fat thermometer. 

Fry sage leaves in 3 batches until crisp, 3 to 5 seconds. 

Transfer leaves with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. 

Cook pancetta and make soup: 

Cook pancetta in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until browned. 

Transfer pancetta with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. 

Add olive oil to pancetta fat remaining in pot, then cook onion, stirring, until softened. 

Stir in garlic and chopped sage and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

Add squash, broth, and water and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors. 

Purée soup in batches in a blender, transferring to a bowl. (Use caution when blending hot liquids.) 

Return soup to pot and reheat. 

If necessary, thin to desired consistency with water. 

Stir in vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. 

Serve sprinkled with pancetta and fried sage leaves.

Note: 

You can make soup 3 days ahead and chill, covered.