Allez, Cuisine! – Butternut Squash Soup

Claire Littlefield and Emma Ellis

Staying warm on campus is becoming a full time job. At least up the hill you can island hop between warm buildings, but for upperclassmen, that trek to Broad Street is a long and unforgiving one. When you’re walking down the hill, every inch of exposed skin hurting or numb from the cold and you’re looking forward to a warm meal, canned soup just isn’t going to cut it.

Making soup yourself may seems like a daunting task, but as long as you’re not also trying to make your own broth, it’s really very simple. So leave the Campbell’s behind and have a bowl of creamy, rich-but-healthy homemade butternut squash soup instead. This recipe is straightforward and cost-efficient, but feels like a luxurious winter meal.

The only complication is that you’ll need an immersion blender. This is one piece of advanced equipment that you’ll never fail to find a use for, but if you don’t want to invest in one, you could borrow one from a friend or try a standard blender.

Depending on how many people you’re feeding, this soup could last you a while. It reheats well in the microwave, but freezing it is also an option. We like to freeze single portions to warm up whenever we need a quick, hot meal.

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash

4 carrots

1 onion

2 quarts chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you prefer)

? tsp. red pepper flakes

sage leaves and/or rosemary sprigs

salt, pepper

Servings: 7-8

Process:

1.  Peel the squash (this is the only hard part), halve it, scoop out the guts and cube it.

2.  Saut?ee the onion and carrots until they soften slightly before adding the herb sprigs.

3.  Add the squash, the broth, the pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

4.  Bring the proto-soup to a boil.

5.  Reduce it to a simmer and then let it go until the vegetables are tender. This should take around half an hour.

6.  Blend, serve and be warm.

Bonus Points:

There a few things you can do to elevate this simple recipe if you are so inclined.

One option is to cook the sage leaves in oil prior to adding the onions and carrots. This will infuse the oil with the sage flavor and make the leaves crispy. Remove them when they turn dark green (but before they burn!) and they make a great garnish.

The rest center around parmesan cheese. If you buy actual wedges of parmigiano reggiano, save the rinds. They keep in the freezer, and will enhance any soup you make. Just throw in the rind when you add the broth. Or, you could just sprinkle some on top just before eating. Better yet, slice up some good bread, sprinkle the bread with parmesan and bake until golden and crispy. This is a basic form of crostini(Italian for “little toast”) and is a great addition to soups and salads.