Kelly Ripa’s Autumn Squash Soup with Pumpkin Seeds and Star Anise
3 sprigs fresh thyme
4 whole cloves
1 star anise pod
1 t peppercorns
1 large butternut squash, skinned and cubed
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
3 shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 C low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 t kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 T honey
2-3 T pepitas, toasted
FOR THE BOWLS:
4 small baking pumpkins (such as hooligan or sugar pie), acorn squash or sweet dumpling squash
2 teaspoons sugar
1. Place the thyme, cloves, star anise, and peppercorns in the center of a piece of cheesecloth and tie into a pouch. Set aside.
2. Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook about 2 minutes until softened and fragrant. Add the squash, broth, salt, pepper, and the spice bag. Simmer, partially covered, until the squash is tender (25-30 mins).
3. Remove the bag of spices and puree the soup until smooth with an immersion blender or in a blender. To serve, ladle into bowls, drizzle with honey, and garnish with the pepitas and a final drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
To make the bowls:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Use a paring knife to cut a large circle around the stem of each pumpkin (make a zigzag cut, if desired). Remove the lid and scoop out the seeds and fibers. Sprinkle the inside of each with 1/2 teaspoon each sugar and salt. Place the pumpkins and lids on a baking sheet; roast until tender, 20 to 35 minutes, depending on their size.