Sweet pumpkin lends a creamy, silky texture to this autumnal soup, while fresh pistou brightens it up. Serve extra pistou with grilled meats, roasted vegetables, and buttered pasta.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup raw pepitas
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 medium garlic clove
Pinch of crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 large pumpkin or other winter squash, peeled and cut into large cubes (about 4 cups)
4 cups homemade or store-bought seafood stock (such as Aneto)
3 thyme sprigs, tied into a bundle
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Make the pistou
1. Heat vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium. Add pepitas; cook, stirring and tossing often, until slightly puffed and toasted, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
2. Combine parsley, 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, garlic, crushed red pepper, and cooled pepitas in a blender. Process on medium speed, slowly drizzling in remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, until mixture is slightly smooth yet still textured, 20 to 30 seconds.
3. Transfer mixture to a container with a tight-fitting lid. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use (up to 3 hours). (Pistou can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 days; bring to room temperature and stir before using).
Make the bisque
4. Heat oil in a medium stockpot over high. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add pumpkin and stock; bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add thyme. Simmer, uncovered, until pumpkin is fall-apart tender, about 30 minutes. Remove stockpot from heat. Remove and discard thyme; stir in cream.
5. Working in batches if needed, pour soup into a blender. Secure lid on blender, and remove center piece to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening. Process on high speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. With blender running on medium speed, gradually add butter; process until silky-smooth, 1 minute and 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Transfer soup to a clean large pot; stir in salt.
6. Ladle soup evenly into 4 bowls. Top each bowl with about 2 tablespoons pistou.
Soup may be stored, without pistou garnish, covered, in refrigerator up to 3 days.