A few years ago, I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time for a very small group – just my parents, hubby’s parents, and the 2 of us. At the time I was in a small apartment and just starting to practice my cooking skills, which led to a menu including an overcooked turkey breast, stuffing made from store-bought cornbread that was not much of a hit, and my basic smashed potatoes. But the star of the evening was a recipe I found for butternut squash soup on Epicurious that tasted so decadent and yet was so easy and healthy! Everyone was amazed that this soup wasn’t loaded with butter and cream. When I made it that first time for the holiday, I also made the fried sage leaves that Epicurious recommends, but have since decided that they’re not really worth the effort.
The only hard part of this recipe is peeling and cutting a butternut squash, so my solution has been to wait until I see pre-cut organic butternut squash at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods and seize the opportunity! But this is also a great option if you have a butternut squash sitting on your counter that you don’t know what to do with. I have made it twice already this year and am hoping to make one more batch before the squash are out of season, although I also bought some canned squash puree and plan to experiment substituting it for the fresh. I will keep you posted on how that goes, but in the mean time, if you see that pre-cut squash, pick up a couple of packages and make this soup!
Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from Epicurious
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 2 3/4-pound butternut squash, halved, peeled, seeded, chopped (or about 2 lbs pre-cut)
4-5 cups homemade or low-salt chicken (or vegetable) broth
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion; cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add chopped sage; stir 1 minute. Add squash and broth (enough to cover the squash, adding more as needed or to thin out after pureeing). Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 25 minutes. Puree soup right in the pot using an immersion blender, or cool slightly and puree in batches in blender until smooth. Mix in cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Do ahead: Can be made 1-2 days ahead and refrigerated, or frozen well in advance.
Makes 8 bowls