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Cold, rainy days and a busy schedule call for a slow cooker. Let us know your favorite way to use a slow cooker in the comment box below and you might be one of the two people who win Andrew Schloss's new cookbook Art of the Slow Cooker plus the app that goes with it! The app includes 30 recipes, 20 photos, a search function, a shopping list and allows you to Facebook it, Twitter about it and share recipes (and the photos of the finished dishes) with your friends.

Parmigiano Pumpkin Soup with Frizzled Prosciutto
From Art of the Slow Cooker: 80 Exciting New Recipes by Andrew Schloss, published by Chronicle Books

If your notion of pumpkin is "sweet," and if you think it should be seasoned only with nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and sugar, then get ready to change your mind.  This savory, creamy, pungently cheesy pumpkin soup is fragrant  with garlic and Parmesan, and punctuated with the frizzled threads of crisp prosciutto.  Serve it as a first course before a roast (it makes an inspired appetizer for Thanksgiving), or for lunch with someone you're dying to impress.

Ingredients
2 Tbl. extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into strips
1 large onion, cut into ⅛-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-oz.) can 100% pure pumpkin
2 qt. vegetable or chicken broth
⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground white pepper
½ cup cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 Tbl. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto and sauté until crisp, about 1 minute. Remove and set aside.

2. Reduce heat to medium, add onion and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook a few seconds. Stir in pumpkin, broth, nutmeg, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Transfer to slow cooker, cover and cook 3 to 4 hours on high, or 6 to 8 hours on low.

3. Stir in cream and cheese and cover 5 minutes. Stir in parsley. Ladle into bowls and garnish with frizzled prosciutto.