falling for squash. [butternut squash soup]
Although it’s still over eighty degrees in California, it is September, which means I’m ready for fall and everything it has to offer—from food to clothing to weather. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my summer days of bronzing in the pool and donning shorts and tank tops. But I get to a certain point when I’m ready to eat some hearty meals and pile on layers of clothing (well, not too many since I live in CA).
My eagerness for fall inspired me to make some sort of healthy but satisfying soup. I decided on butternut squash, since I’ve never cooked with the fruit before and love its flavor. I didn’t realize how tedious it was to cut, peel and seed a squash until preparation time. It took a bit of muscle to peel the outer skin, which I struggled with a bit.
However, once I peeled and diced the squash, the rest of the prep work was quick and simple. Even though this recipe doesn’t call for many ingredients, it still has a rich and savory flavor that had me hooked from the first spoonful.
I used a recipe by Giada and tweaked a couple of measurements and details. The result was an absolutely delicious meal, just as I had hoped.
2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups shredded carrots (or 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 7 to 8 cups) [I used 2 squashes)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (homemade is always preferred if you have it)
2 tsp. ground sage
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
In a large pot, add butter and oil and melt together over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Add squash and chicken stock to pot. Bring mixture to a boil and add the sage. Continue to boil until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Cooked vegetable mixture can also be pureed (after cooling for 5 minutes) in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Cut French baguette into diagonal slices, about 1/2 inches thick. Mix olive oil with crushed garlic and spread on the crostinis. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle fontina cheese on each crostini. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, until golden brown and slightly crispy.