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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

November 6, 2009
by Elizabeth

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I don’t generally consider myself to be the least bit OCD, especially when it comes to cooking. But every once in awhile I get the idea of something (chicken salad, cheddar fondue, and ragu come to mind) in my head, and I.cannot.stop.thinking.about.it. For the life of me. So I start looking for recipes for the dish in question, and then the most frustrating thing happens. None of them sound right. Sure, they’re probably good, delicious maybe, but they’re not exactly what I’m craving rightthisverysecond! Gah!

This time it was butternut squash soup. I’m not really sure why, considering I don’t actually remember ever eating butternut squash soup. (Usually these OCD moments are triggered by trying to recreate a dish, like the to die for chicken salad we had at a luncheon after my husband’s uncle’s wedding in Atlanta last year. Yes, I’m still obsessing over it.) But back to the soup. I checked all my usual internet sources – epicurious, smittenkitchen, orangette, etc., etc. and nothing was jumping out at me. I spent an entire evening at home poring over my cookbooks – perfect recipe nowhere to be found. So I started making notes, jotting down bits and pieces from various recipes until I had a list of ingredients that sounded perfect to ME. And after all, that’s the most important thing when you’re cooking for yourself.
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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
adapted very loosely from Bon Appetit, Ina Garten’s Back to Basics, and Trattoria Grappolo, among others.

4 – 4 1/2 lb butternut squash (about 8-9 cups cubed)
3 carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 onion (finely chopped)
4 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 32 oz box plus 1 14 oz can low sodium chicken stock (or if you’re super domestic and make your own stock, 6 cups)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons cream
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)

For Garnish
pepper bacon crumbles
blue cheese crumbles

Preheat the oven to 425˚. Using a large, very sharp knife, carefully cut away the peel of the butternut squash, then remove the seeds. Dice into 1 inch cubes. Dice unpeeled carrots into slightly smaller pieces so they will cook through. Place the cubed squash and carrots in a large roasting pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss to thoroughly coat. Roast for 40-50 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender and starting to brown on the bottom.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. When it is hot, add the onions and saute until they are translucent and starting to caramelize – 10 minutes or so. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two, but don’t let it burn. Add the roasted squash and carrots, sage, red pepper, and chicken stock. Bring up to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and using an immersion blender, puree the soup until it is very smooth. You may need to add a 1/2 cup or so of water to thin it to the desired consistency. (Alternately, puree the soup in batches in the blender). Add the parmesan and cream. Salt to taste – I needed 2 teaspoons.

Meanwhile, cut the bacon into a small dice and fry it up. Serve the soup with the bacon and blue cheese crumbles as garnish. Don’t skip this part, the tangy cheese and kick from the pepper bacon back really balance out the sweetness of the soup nicely. Add a piece of crusty bread and a green salad, and you have quite a delightful lunch.

Makes 8-10 servings

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