Gennaro Contaldo’s Pumpkin & Ricotta Soup With Sauteed Mushrooms

By Gennaro Contaldo
This zuppa di zucca e ricotta con funghi saltati recipe is sublime, soothing and just the thing for winter. Photo / David Loftus

In Italian this dish is called zuppa di zucca e ricotta con funghi saltati – practice that while you perfect this soothing soup.

This perfect winter warmer is ideal to make during the cooler months when pumpkins are plentiful. Use whatever pumpkin you can find or, of course, butternut squash would be perfect, too. The addition of ricotta brings extra creaminess to this blended soup and the sauteed mushrooms add a lovely contrasting texture, as well as extra nutrition. I like to use a little guanciale for extra flavour but you could use pancetta or bacon, or simply omit it, if making for vegetarians.


Serves 4
Approx. 1kg unprepped pumpkin

4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, left whole and squashed

1 red chilli, finely sliced (optional)

100g guanciale (pork cheek), chopped into small cubes

Leaves of 2 thyme sprigs, plus extra leaves to garnish

1.2 litres hot vegetable stock

200g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced

150g ricotta

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Remove the skin and seeds from the pumpkin and chop the flesh into chunks, then set aside.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and sweat the garlic, chilli (if using) and half of the guanciale until the guanciale begins to colour.
  3. Discard the garlic, then stir in the pumpkin and thyme. Pour in the hot stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered with a lid, for about 25 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked through.
  4. In the meantime, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and stir-fry the remaining guanciale until crispy.
  5. Add the mushrooms, season to taste, then continue to stir-fry for a couple of minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through.
  6. Blend the pumpkin mixture until smooth, then check for seasoning and stir through the ricotta.
  7. Divide the soup between four bowls, top with the guanciale and mushroom mix, garnish with extra thyme leaves and serve immediately.

Recipe from Gennaro’s Verdure: Big and bold recipes to pack your plate with vege by Gennaro Contaldo, $50, published by Pavilion Books.

More Gennaro Contaldo

More from the renowned Italian chef.

Boozy baked chicken with peppers. This is a really simple dish to prepare: put all your ingredients in a roasting dish and pop in the oven to do the rest.

Classic spaghetti carbonara recipe. Try this classic spaghetti carbonara recipe from The Pasta Book by Gennaro Contaldo.

Easy Italian with gennaro contaldo. Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo started his career in the kitchen when he was 10. He’s still boiling, frying and simmering 55 years later.

Share this article: