Preheat oven to 375°. Toss cubed pumpkin in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter, broken into bits. Spread out on a lined sheet pan. Bake for 30–40 minutes, or until pumpkin is soft and tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Melt remaining butter in a large saucepot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, making sure not to brown. Add stock, heavy cream, brown sugar, spices and roasted pumpkin. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes. Purée in a blender until smooth. Return to pot and check for seasoning.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepot bring the toasted hazelnuts to a boil in 1 cup water. Simmer for 10 minutes or until hazelnuts are tender. Strain nuts and reserve liquid.
In a food processor add nuts, 1 tablespoon olive oil and shallots. Purée until nuts form a uniform smooth paste, adding scant cooking liquid, if needed. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle soup into warm shallow bowls. Garnish with a dollop of hazelnut crema and a sprinkling of chives.
Recipe by Executive Chef Willis Stepp, Public Kitchen & Bar, Providence
About this recipe
Wine Pairing: 2012 Treana, Hope Family Wines, Paso Robles, California. I would pair the pumpkin soup with a medium- to full-bodied white wine. Our pick would be the 2012 Treana White, a blend of Viognier and Marsanne grapes from California’s Central Coast. It has enough sweetness to complement the spices in the soup and enough acidity to balance the sweetness of the sugar pumpkin. The nuttiness of the wine will pair well with the toasted hazelnuts.
—Amelia Wilson, Grapes & Gourmet, Jamestown