Saturday, April 01, 2006

Butternut Squash Soup

Tonight I made Butternut Squash Soup with Sage & Parmesan Croutons, from Real Simple magazine. Seriously, this magazine consistently has amazing recipes. I don't think I've ever made one that was not good. SO many of our favorites (Fettuccine Bolognese, Sloppy Joes) come from it. Anyway, tonight's was yummy! I will definitely make it again. Make sure you take the time to make the croutons, because they really make the dish.

My changes: I halved the recipe, used vegetarian bouillon cubes instead of broth, added a Tbsp of minced garlic, and omitted the sage (though I did substitute a sprinkle of thyme). Also, if you multitask during the preparation, you can get it done a lot quicker than if you do one step at a time (for example, start the soup while the squash is roasting).

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage and Parmesan Croutons
1 3lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (5 to 6 cups)
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 tsp kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp butter
1 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage (about 6 large leaves)
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Sage and Parmesan Croutons (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the squash with 2 Tbsp of the olive oil, 2 tsp of the salt, and the pepper. Place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in oven for 15 minutes. Turn the cubes over and continue roasting for 15 minutes or until they are caramelized; set aside.

In a Dutch oven or a large stockpot, heat the butter and the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and sage and saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are translucent and tender, 10 minutes. Add the squash, broth, and the remaining salt, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the liquid is flavorful. Remove from heat. Using a blender or a food processor, blend the soup in batches until smooth. Return to the pot and keep warm. Top with Sage and Parmesan Croutons and the grated Parmesan.

Makes 6-8 servings

Sage and Parmesan Croutons
3 oz rustic white bread (about 3 thick slices), torn into 1-inch pieces
1 large clove garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage (about 6 large leaves)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl to coat. Spread the bread evenly on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 10-12 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.

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