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« Holiday Cranberry Phyllo Baskets | Main | Auction Dinner Party »

Butternut Squash Soup with Pancetta



I'm a little overwhelmed by all the e-mails I received about the Auction Dinner.  I was so happy to share the menu with you and some of the fun touches from the dinner.  Thanks to all of you who let me know how much you enjoyed it.  

Fall means knitting to me and this year I've become obsessed with doing mittens (it used to be scarves).  I just finished these purple and black Delphine mittens that a local shop owner here designed.  Was so much fun. Knitting is sort of my Zen place.

Fall also means lots of squash and I have my favorite Butternut Squash Soup recipe to share with you.  I love it because it has a hint of Sherry in it (although you can certainly omit it) and I top it with a little crispy pancetta. It's good for a couple of days in the fridge, so you can make a nice big batch of it and have it the next day.  It would be perfect for your Thanksgiving table if you want a nice fall soup to serve.

Butternut Squash Soup

for a printable recipe, click here

serves 4 to 6

This soup can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage (about 3 leaves)
  • 2 to 2-1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
  • 1/8 cup sherry
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 ounces pancetta, chopped 
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • salt and pepper



Melt the butter and olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and sage and saute one minute.  Add squash cubes and saute 5 minutes. Add the sherry, broth and cayenne pepper.  Cover and simmer on low for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry the pancetta in a little skillet until nicely crisped.  Drain on a paper towel.

Puree soup, either with an immersion blender right in the pot, or transfer to a food processor or blender. Return to pot and stir in cream.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve in bowls with pancetta on top.

 Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored byKitchenAidRed Star Yeast and Le Creuset

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Reader Comments (35)

Doesn't pancetta make everything better? :-) (PS Just made 36 bottles of your vanilla extract yesterday for holiday gifts for my clients - thanks for the sources (bottles, vanilla), recipe and great idea!)

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCooking with Michele

I have been staring at my butternut squash that I got at the farmers market the other day and now it has a purpose. I love this soup and can't wait to make it!

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertheurbanbaker

Thank You! Have been looking for a start for Thanksgiving this year and yes pancetta is. fantastic

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDennis Duncan

The rich color of the soup looks amazing. What a perfect fall soup .. thanks for sharing the recipe

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjudee@glutenfreeA-Z

I made a bn soup recently, but I love your addition of pancetta! Looks crazy good!

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiz @ Blog is the New Black

This is such a beautiful soup! I did a very similar butternut squash soup last week. This kind of soup is the perfect meal to take the chill off. Thank you so much for sharing!

I am a big fan of the Italian Dish, your food (and especially your photos) are always inspiring. I saw your post today and decided to use my butternut squash for your lovely soup for dinner. However, in the middle of cooking, I have a few questions - where do the olive oil and sage come into play? And there is a photo of fresh garlic, is there any in the recipe? The smell is already amazing, and I'm going to play it by ear, but would love to know. Many thanks! Leslie

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

From The Italian Dish:

Leslie: So sorry! I definitely typed up that recipe too quickly. I have fixed it. Thank you for pointing it out and thank you for the kind words!

November 19, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Excellent, thanks so much! I just finished making this recipe, it is as fantastic as it looks!

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

Actually had a butternut squash sitting from my CSA box and didn't know what to do with it until I checked my blog feed today! Half the soup is already gone. ;-)

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaryann

What a great looking soup! I love pancetta (when I can find it) so much more than plain old bacon and would make this recipe in a heartbeat!

November 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertasteofbeirut

I love butternut squash soup. You have some great additions here: the cayenne and sherry as well as the pancetta topping. I will definitely try this.

November 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterzannie

I don't cook, really. I don't knit. I don't needlepoint as I once did. All I seem to do is work -- but work that is a blessing to others as well as to me, so I am not complaining about that. But I want you to know that I just love the way you write and talk about food and family and lovely things that give me hope for the American people. There are so many good people now living here under the fallout from such corrupt and insane and powerful government actions.

I actually believe the internet with all of the marvelous, constructive people, such as yourself, freely giving of your recipes for your lovely foods, are forerunning saviors of this nation. The good that radiates from this devotion to health and happiness, as well as prayer, will prevail no matter what!!!!!

I don't know how that old saying goes, but it is something like "soup can save souls."

November 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMitche Leigh Hunt

I've never had pancetta with squash soup and I don't know why. It's perfecct - adds taste and a contrast and oh yes.

And _- I have forgotten how to knit. That is so sad. It's definitely scarf time were I live.

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

omg this looks heavenly! I for sure want some of this when I get back from my little excursion to Chicago!

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGaby

Just happen to have 2 butternut squash in the cupboard, I made the soup after checking out the recipe. It is delicious! I used bacon instead of the pancetta and it really added to the soup. I love your recipes!
Thank you!

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

What a lovely soup to grace the Thanksgiving table with Elaine. I love the additions you made to it! Yum! Thanks for sharing this one. I know my family is going to just love it. Hope your holiday is fabulous.

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterYankee Soaper

You cook, you knit and you paint! So muliti talented you are Elaine. I thought I commented here when I first saw this post, I guess I didn't. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I adore butternut squash soup, it always tastes so luxurious to me, I'm going to try it your way next time!

November 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermarie

I second that! Your talent is inspiring!

November 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

I made a butternut soup a few days ago...and added a tsp of Patak's curry paste for interest. ... a tiny blob of honey too .. .... and a dollop of yogurt just before eating ...ooohhh..... yum... it was great.

Next, I'm tryng the little baskets... although,I think I should find a tin with smaller openings...mine is a honking big muffin tin.. not that I'm complaining... When I make muffins...I want a man size muffin! But, these should be tiny, cute and tasty...

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVee

btw.... do you have any tricks for easy cutting of these hard-as-rock squash? I don't have a big or sharp enough knife.. and can't seem to wield long bladed knives that well...I prefer a shorter blade...but,...anyway... I did 'nuke' mine for a bit and get some softness even though it was not uniform... and did manage to get through it a bit easier.....

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVee

Hello, I have just made these recipe, it is a delight.
Thank you.

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFine Bessot

I am making this tonight! I added two small red potatoes as I wanted to TRY and cut out the cream! Your photography is great. You should be food styling!

December 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertheurbanbaker

From The Italian Dish:

Susan: You are too kind! Thank you.

December 22, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Wow. What a wonderful soup! I added more fresh sage and extra garlic. It is divine!

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTeri Olson

I am so excited about your recipes! I can hardly wait to try this soup. I am going to have a series of shots to end my back pain so I have to wait until that is done then I can start cooking my little heart out. I have always liked to cook and finding this sight has been a great joy.

October 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNorma Dowda

First time I made butternut squash soup I had a problem peeling and chopping the squash (and I have very sharp and good knives!) so I managed to cut it in half, cleaned out the seeds with a spoon and slathered the cut portion with good olive oil...THEN put both sides in a pan lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil and baked it cut sides down at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour...depends on size. So easy to scoop out the cooked flesh with a spoon to make the soup. Excellent favorite. I really love The Italian Dish recipes...thank you so much!

October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterArlene

These pictures are gorgeous and the soup with this wonderful recipe make me wait impatiently for atumn! ;-)

August 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterUrban Classics

This soup is amazing!,,, never made a recipe with squash before. Actually used acorn squash for this recipe and it was delicious!

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaddie Burke

this was delicious and so easy! the only changes i made was i used half and half instead of cream, and i added a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. fabulous and thank you!

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlolo

I tried a butternut squash soup last year and also found it very hard to cut. Yesterday I poked holes in the squash and put it in the microwave for 5 minutes and then let it cool on the counter. Then I wrapped it up in a plastic shopping bag and placed in the refrigerator until tonight. Very easy now to cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and chop for the soup. I just finished my first bowl and it was delicious. It is good with or without the cream. I added a bit of chopped red pepper on top. Make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth and omit the meat.

November 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarb

This looks delicious and I have some butternuts in the garden to use up so I will give this a try. I am going to pin it right now too.

September 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterScarlet

I have cooked butternut sqush in the freezer. I baked it and froze itin 1 cup batches. About how much of this will I need to make this soup? Thanks Mimi

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMimi

I love this soup!!! Its my go to butternut squash recipe. I roast the butternut squash for an hour in the oven at 400 degrees you have to put 3 lbs of squash instead of 2 lbs. Everybody loves the soup too. Its the sherry don't leave it out. I also put in bacon instead of the pancetta. I like the smokiness of the bacon and I always have some in the frig.

March 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertina

I've been making this soup for a few years now. I just have to say it's my favorite soup EVER!!!
I make it for friends and they all love it. It's so easy to make too that's a huge plus

November 14, 2018 | Unregistered Commentertina fyfe

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