I love how simple and versatile this recipe is, and it incorporates one of my favorite techniques for roasting pumpkin or squash. The roasted pumpkin adds so much flavor and richness, and it's a great way to utilize extra greens or leftover roasted squash. I like to say that my fridge tells me when to make this soup.
Technique tip: Instead of chopping raw squash in advance, which can be tough and cumbersome, I like cutting the pumpkin or squash in half, scraping out the seeds and roasting it cut-side down. This allows the skin to almost create a jacket for the squash, which gets really custardy and soft as it steams inside.
Swap option: Use any wiltable green, from baby spinach to kale. The mushroom seasoning can be replaced with an instant ramen seasoning packet or a vegan version, if you prefer.
For the charred red chili paste:1.
Stir together the vinegar and mushroom seasoning powder in a small mixing bowl.2.
Position an oven rack about 4 inches from the broiler and preheat the broiler. Put the chilies on a sheet pan, drizzle with the oil and toss well to coat them. Arrange them in a single layer and broil, turning over the chilies once about halfway through, until they're blistered and blackened, 8 to 10 minutes. Let them cool a bit.3.
Pull the stems off the chilies but don't deseed them or remove the skins. Add the chilies to a food processor and pulse until fairly finely chopped, then add the vinegar mixture and pulse until well mixed but still a little chunky. It keeps in the fridge for up to 1 month.
For the pumpkin ramen:1.
Preheat oven to 375 F.2.
Drizzle pumpkin with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place pumpkin on a baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast until very soft, about 45 minutes.3.
Combine the garlic and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a medium pot, set it over medium-high heat and let it sizzle. Cook, stirring, until it's fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Scrape the pumpkin or squash from the skin, add to the pot, use a spoon to break it into smallish pieces and turn the heat to high. Once it sizzles, cook, stirring occasionally, for a minute, then stir in 8 cups water along with the salt, mushroom seasoning powder and soy sauce.4.
Let it come to a boil, skim off some of the froth, then add the greens in several batches, stirring after each batch to wilt. Stir in the ramen noodles. Cook at a boil, stirring occasionally, until the greens' stems are tender but still have some texture and the noodles are al dente, about 3 minutes. Season with salt.
Transfer to a large serving bowl and top with the chili paste or hot sauce and, if using, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil. Serve right away.