After wishing one whole week for the weather to become colder, and appropriately autumnal, I was answered by a couple of days of real chill and obviously I ended up catching a cold. The usual lesson applies: be careful what you wish for.
Besides going around sneezing, coughing and talking with a voice almost as sweet as Ursula’s in the Little Mermaid, I also cooked what is universally considered the most effective cold remedy, i.e. hearty soup. Specifically, butternut squash soup: taste of fall.
There are probably thousands of butternut squash soups all over the internet, some of which are incredibly fancy and elaborated stuff, certainly delicious. There is nothing elaborated about this one, it is easy to do and it is the right soup for when you need something warm and satisfying that does not take a whole day to put together.
Butternut squash has such a distinct flavour that I am in favour of leaving it as “naked” as possible. I like to concentrate that flavour and I find that roasting the squash (rather than boil it as some recipes suggest) does the trick. I also like to add just a touch of milk before warming up and serving the soup because that makes it feel creamier. Sour cream is obviously a killer, with butternut squash, but I am a purist and prefer to add just a little olive oil and ground black pepper. Last but not least, have some good toasted bread at hand, because there is hardly a better match for it than this soup!
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
- 1/2 cup sliced leeks (white part only)
- 2 springs of fresh thyme
- salt and ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out and discard the seeds. Brush each half inside and out with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in total, and sprinkle the cavities with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminium foil or parchment paper and roast for 45-50 minutes, or until completely tender. Remove the squash from the oven and let cool, then scoop out and reserve the flesh.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the leeks, onions and thyme and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add the roasted squash flesh and the stock, bring to a boil than reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, then remove form the heat, remove the thyme, and puree well with an immersion blender.
Add 4 tablespoons of milk and mix well, then warm up again before serving. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper.