Some years back I served soup as a starter at a small dinner party. Instead of having everyone move to the dining table, I poured the soup into mugs and we mingled in front of the fireplace while we enjoyed this first course. J. dubbed it “the walk around soup”. I can’t tell you how many times he’s asked me if we could have “walk around soup” and so now that the weather is cooler, I decided to indulge him.
My favorite squash soup is one with curry and apples, but I wanted something to pair with an Italian main course. The following recipe comes from an old Bon Appetit (November 2001) and it was just what I hoped it would be- light, yet full of flavor. The earthiness of the sage, the sweetness of the squash and the subtle, nutty flavor of the cheese-perfect for an autumn evening.
Butternut Squash Soup with Sage
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1-3 pound butternut squash, peeled and chopped (about 5 cups)
4-5 cups low salt chicken broth
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 small piece rind Parmigiano (optional)
Freshly grated nutmeg, optional
20 fresh sage leaves
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, cover and cook until soft, about 7 minutes.
Add chopped sage and saute for a one minute. Add squash and about 4 cups of the broth. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer squash is tender, about 25 minutes. I added a rind from Parmigiano-Reggiano while the soup was simmering, and a little freshly grated nutmeg. When squash is tender remove the cheese rind (if using) and cool slightly. If the soup seems to thick, add more broth. Puree the soup in a blender, food processor or hand held blender. Add the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper.
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat and fry sage leaves until they are crisp. Ladle soups into bowls or cups and garnish with leaves. Serves: 8