Pumpkin Soup with Truffle Oil

1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 small rib celery, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 kg (2 lb.) pumpkin or other hard orange squash, peeled and cubed
Pinch of cayenne
3 to 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper
60 g (2 oz.) pancetta, diced and cooked until crisp (optional)
Truffle oil (optional)

In a large saucepan, saute onion, garlic and celery in oil over medium high heat.
Add pumpkin and cayenne and saute 3 minutes.
Add stock and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer 20 to 30 minutes or until pumpkin is very soft.
Puree pumpkin mixture in a blender or food processor (watch out for steam!) or with an immersion blender.
Return soup to pot and warm gently. Thin with additional stock or water if soup seems too thick. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in crisp pancetta.
Ladle into shallow serving bowls. Drizzle with truffle oil or additional olive oil.

Makes 4 servings