butternut squash soup 
My best testimonial for this soup was a pile of licked-clean bowls.  Butternut squash is so versatile that there are hundreds of variations on this recipe.  Add chilies and coconut milk for a spicy Asian twist, or add roasted peppers and goat cheese and serve this dish on a hot summer evening.  My version uses classic winter spices for a savory, bold flavor.

Makes: 6 guests go butter-nuts! (too corny?)
Total kitchen time: 1.5 hours

Shopping list:

  • 2 small butternut squash, halved
  • 5 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 pat butter
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 cups chicken stock (hot)
  • 2 cups heavy cream (warm)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds for garnishing
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.  Place the squash, cut side down, in a large roasting pan.  Add about one inch of water to the pan.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast the squash until they are very tender, about 1 hour. 
  2. Once the squash has cooled, remove it from the skin and cut it into small cubes.  Heat the butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and sweat over low heat until it is tender and transparent, about 10 minutes.  Add the roasted garlic and stir to combine.
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  3. Add the butternut squash and 1 cup each of chicken stock and heavy cream.  Using an immersion blender (or a food processor), blend until smooth. 
  4. Continue adding the remaining stock and cream until you reach the desired consistency.  Add the cloves, nutmeg, ginger, salt and pepper.  Adjust the seasonings to taste. 

You and your guests will be very happy with this soup.  If you leave out most of the liquid, the same recipe makes a great filling for homemade ravioli. 

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