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The Foodist: Bread Cheese and Butternut Squash and Pesto Soup

Jim Bruner | Mezzacello Delightful butternut squash and parsley/sage/Parmesan pesto soup with pan seared bread cheese croutons

This is a delightful vegetarian soup. Rick created this recipe as an amalgam of three different recipes. The issue was whether to use apples or shallots in the soup. As with most of his recipes he made adjustments and compromises.

Instead of onions, which imparted a sharp taste to our Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Rick switched to shallots, which had a sweeter, milder flavor. Rather than start the soup’s base of shallots and chicken broth on the stovetop, we cooked the two elements in the oven. We started by tossing chopped shallots with oil and the squash.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (see note on squash body)
  • 3 medium shallots, peeled and quartered -OR
    • 1 ½ pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetarian stock)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

PESTO RECIPE

  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 1 Tbsp chopped sage
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 Tbpn lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Toss squash, apples, shallots, oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in large bowl, then arrange in single layer in large roasting pan.
  3. Roast, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are golden brown and softened, about 45 minutes. Add ½ cup broth to pan and scrape up any browned bits with wooden spoon.
  4. Return to oven and cook until liquid has reduced and vegetables are glazed, about 5 minutes.
  5.  Working in 2 batches, puree squash mixture and remaining broth in blender until smooth.
  6. Transfer pureed squash mixture to large saucepan and stir in syrup, vinegar, nutmeg, and cream.
  7. Bring soup to simmer over medium-low heat, adding ¼ cup water at a time as necessary to adjust consistency.
  8. Add in the pesto and stir in softly.
  9. Serve.
  10. (Soup can be refrigerated in airtight container for 3 days.)

Note:

Because the bulbous end of butternut squash contains the seeds and stringy fibers, purchase squash with a relatively long neck—they have more usable flesh. You can replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth for a vegetarian version of this soup

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