I love butternut squash. It has such a smooth texture and is perfect for soups and gratins. I'm not a fan of acorn squash and pumpkin which I find is much more stringy when cooked. I was excited to try Krista's soup.
Many recipes have you cut and dice the squash which I find very challenging. Elise at Simply Recipes has a great post on how to peel and cut a squash that I am going to try next time I need to dice a butternut squash. This time I only needed to cut it in half which I find daunting enough. I'm not very skilled with a knife and inevitably end up with cut fingers. Plus I could only find a large 4 lb squash which was going to be even more challenging to cut in half.
So I called in G to help. He methodically approached it and used a rubber mallet to help cut the squash. You want to do it slowly so you don't damage your knife but it works. Next time we are going to try cutting off the bottom and top cutting straight down.
After the squash is cut, the soup is very easy. You can do the roasting in advance to save even more time. I omitted the pancetta and used vegetable broth. On a cold frost day, the warm soup is very comforting.
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.