When my daughter Malka had a baby, and stayed with us for a while in the winter, I tried to serve a different soup every day. There’s something very homey and comforting about soup, and I try to come up with different varieties to satisfy everyone’s taste. This was the result of one experiment and we all enjoyed it immensely. Roasting brings out the inherent sweetness of each vegetable and adds a depth of flavor to the soup. Tastes even better the next day.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Place all vegetables on an oven tray lined with Gefen Parchment Paper, cut side down. I like putting each veggie separately. Spread the pumpkin pieces in a single layer, and do the same for the garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until veggies are tender, stirring once. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes.
Prepare a five-quart saucepan. Peel and seed tomatoes and place in pot. Add pumpkin. Peel pepper and add to pot along with onion and garlic cloves. Cover with water (approximately five cups). Add seasoning. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for half an hour. Cool slightly before blending with an immersion blender.
For garnish: Heat a very small amount of oil (approximately one teaspoon) in a frying pan. Add a few handfuls of sliced almonds and toast until light brown. Add a generous sprinkling of cayenne pepper and stir until almonds are coated. Remove from flame. Garnish each serving with almonds, if desired.
Sub equivalent amount of sweet potatoes for the pumpkin, for a sweeter-tasting soup. If you don’t use chicken soup mix, add a bit more seasoning.