I was cleaning out the cupboard yesterday and came across a couple of winter squashes that I had left over from other dishes. One was a butternut and the other a carnival. What to do? Soup!
I looked through my cook books and came across an interesting recipe from Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" that used winter squash and sage. I had some fresh sage and thyme. Perfect.
I wasn't certain how much squash I had. The recipe calls for 2½ to 3 pounds of squash. I think I had about 2 pound which ended up being enough. It also calls for 2 onions which seemed a lot to me so I cut that to 1 onion. Otherwise, I followed the recipe. It was easy and extremely good.
Winter Squash Soup with Fried Sage Leaves
2½ to 3 pounds Winter Squash
¼ cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
12 whole sage leaves, plus 2 tbs chopped
2 onions, finely chopped (I used only 1 onion chopped)
Leaves chopped from 4 thyme springs
¼ cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
8 cups water
½ cup fontina shredded. (alternatively you can use pecorino or ricotta salata diced)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds. Brush the surfaces with oil, stuff the cavities with the garlic and place them cut sides down on a baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 30 minutes.
In a small skillet, heat ¼ oil until nearly smoking, then drop the whole sage leaves and fry until speckled and dark, about 1 minute. Set the leaves aside on a paper town and transfer the oil to a soup pot. Add the onions, chopped sage, thyme, and parsley and cook over medium heat until the onions have begun to brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Scoop the baked squash flesh into the pot along with any juices. Peel the garlic and add it to the pot along with 1½ tsp salt and the water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes. If the soup becomes too thick, add more water to thin it out. Taste for salt.
Puree the soup until smooth. Ladle into bowls and distribute the cheese over the top. Garnish with the fried sage leaves and pepper. Enjoy!
Serves 4 to 6