Hearty Pumpkin Soup with Hazelnut Pesto

Today I need soup, we just made through a bad snow storm, I’m not sure how many inches yet, but I know it’s well over a foot (30 cm +). So I decided to make a sweet and nutty pumpkin soup and garnish it with super fresh hazelnut pesto. Hazelnut by the way is my favorite nut. I don’t usually make this soup because I’m the only one in the house that really likes it… 😉
It’s super simple yet very comforting.
Hearty Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Hazelnut Pesto
For the soup:
1 pumpkin about 4 lb. (2 kg) total weight,
15 cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
2 leeks (only white and tender green parts)
5 cups of broth
Salt and white pepper
pinch of turmeric (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Cut and peel the pumpkin into slices 1 inch thick.
Prepare a roasting pan, combine the pumpkin and garlic, drizzle over with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, pour the water. Roast stirring occasionally until gold and soft for about an hour. Remove from oven and let cool for a bit.
While everything is in the oven, in a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the remaining olive oil and saute the chopped leeks until golden brown (about 15 minutes)
Then add to the pot the roasted pumpkin and garlic cloves with the broth and using an immersion blender (if you don’t have one you can use your regular blender and do this in batches) pureé until very smooth, bring to a simmer over medium heat, and season to taste with salt, pepper and turmeric.
Ladle into warmed soup bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt, the super easy nutty hazelnut pesto and chopped hazelnuts.
Hazelnut Pesto
For the hazelnut pesto:
2 cloves of garlic
2 cups of fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup of parsley
2 tablespoons of hazelnuts
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
the juice of half a lemon
3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
water (to adjust thickness to your taste)
In a food processor combine the garlic, the herbs and process until finely chopped.
Add the nuts and again  process until finally chopped. With the motor running add the lemon juice and slowly pour the olive oil. Process until thick.
Add the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste and process to mix. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

**Secret to keep your pesto super green: Blanch the basil leaves in boiling water for 5 seconds! it’s simply wonderful!!!**

Blueberry Vanilla Tart

It’s still pretty cold here so I still need food that smells and recalls summer, so this tart does the trick for me. It’s super simple and easy to make, and you can use a never ending varieties of fruits, kiwis are perfect, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, bananas… you name it it goes with this tart. The filling is the one I posted early this week: the French Vanilla Eggless Custard. So here goes the recipe for the super easy flaky vanilla crust:
Blueberry French Vanilla Tart
You’ll need:

1 cup of flour

7 tablespoons of melted butter (unsalted)

1/4 cup of sugar

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 french vanilla bean pod (scrape the seeds)

In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients but the flour first, once well combined add the flower  and mix just until well blended. Press the dough evenly on your tart pan (9-9 1/2 inch) I used the oblong one and it’s jut the exact amount, so be patient, pressing the dough evenly will take a little bit of time, but it will be worth it 😉

Refrigerate it for at least 45 minutes to firm. Then place in a 350 F degree oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. If it starts to rise too much, simply prick it with a fork and keep baking it. Let cool completely and when the custard is ready pour it right away and let set for at least an hour at room temperature, then refrigerate and top with desired fruit. Enjoy!