This is one of my all-time favorite soup recipes. I got the original idea of it from a Silver Palate recipe and now I've been doing variations of it for years. It can easily be made vegetarian or even vegan, but is also quite tasty with the pancetta, butter, etc.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
2 butternut squash, about 2 pounds each (or 1 acorn squash and 1 butternut)
a little butter (or olive oil)
a couple tablespoons diced pancetta (optional)
1 onion, diced
a dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
5-6 cups of chicken (or vegetable) broth
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
dash of freshly ground nutmeg
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
optional garnish: a little creme fraiche or plain yogurt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half and scoop out seeds. In a roasting pan, place the squash with a little pat of butter or a drizzle of olive oil over each piece. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until completely cooked through.
2. In a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, saute the pancetta and onion (or just the onion in some olive oil) until lightly browned. Add some red pepper flakes to taste, if you like a little heat.
3. Scoop the flesh from the roasted squash and add it to the pot. Add 5 cups of vegetable broth and the seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes.
3. Using a hand mini blender, puree the soup until it is smooth and creamy. If it is too thick, add up to a cup more of the broth. Taste and add more salt, if necessary.
4. Serve garnished with with the creme fraiche or yogurt and an extra dash of freshly ground pepper.
Serves at least 6
Note: can be successfully doubled and can be made ahead of time and reheated just before serving.