The crazy cold weather last week left us shivering. Up north people are more prepared for it than we are here in the Mid-Atlantic region. We had the fireplace going most of the day and sipped hot tea to stay warm, and ate some hot soup for dinner, which is fine by me because soup is one of my favorite winter meals. It warms my belly and satisfies my soul, which is one of the reasons I like leftover soup for breakfast.
This butternut squash soup recipe that I adapted from Cooking Light is so good and healthy that I make a double batch and we eat the leftovers throughout the week. It was originally featured in their Thanksgiving 2013 edition, and I marked that page knowing it would end up on our weekly menu at some point. Everything in the soup is blended, making it extra creamy, and the cannellini beans add a protein punch without meat. The pesto is stirred in at the table, adding a fresh layer of flavor.
The original recipe calls for canned pumpkin, which I change out for roasted butternut squash. To make it vegetarian, I use vegetable stock rather than chicken. I also completely change up the pesto, which calls for spinach, basil, sage, and pine nuts. I use parsley, sage, and pistachios instead, which we like very much. Pine nuts have gotten crazy expensive around here, and the pistachios made a fine substitute. The parsley also adds some fresh flavor that works well with the spices and the squash, and it’s very healthy for you. It is a good source of antioxidants as well as vitamins K, A, C, and folic acid.
We eat this soup with bread slices on the side, or for fun will sprinkle popcorn on top.
You can make parts of this ahead, just roast the squash and remove the skin, then refrigerate for up to two days before making the soup. You can also make the pesto one or two days ahead.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CANNELLINI BEAN BISQUE WITH PARSLEY, SAGE, AND PISTACHIO PESTO
Adapted from Cooking Light.
Makes 16 servings.
baking sheet, lined with foil and lightly greased with olive oil
6-quart heavy bottom pot with lid
1 small butternut squash, about 1 pound (454 g)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, chopped
10 large leaves fresh sage, chopped
10 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (or less to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
5 cups (1.2 liters) vegetable stock, homemade or purchased
2 cups (480 ml) home cooked or canned cannellini beans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups (480 ml) 2% reduced-fat milk
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups (160 g) packed fresh parsley leaves
12 large sage leaves
1/4 cup (36 g) pistachio nut meats, toasted
1/4 cup (25 g) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
2. Scrub the skin of the squash thoroughly. Cut the squash vertically in half, and remove the seeds. Place the halves face down on the prepared baking sheet, and roast in the preheated oven until the skin is blistered and the flesh tender, about 40 minutes. Remove and allow to cool a little.
3. While the squash roasts, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, sage, and garlic to pan. Sauté until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the red pepper and cumin, and then sauté 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup of the stock and cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Combine the onion mixture, remaining stock, beans, and roasted squash in the blender, in batches if necessary, and blend until smooth. Return everything to the pot. Stir in the milk and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with more salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
4. While the soup cooks, add the parsley leaves, sage, pistachios, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil to the work bowl of the food processor. Pulse until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve the soup with a dollop of the pesto on top of each bowl, and stir it in.
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[Disclosure: I am a member of the Cooking Light Bloggers' Connection.]
[An original post from Andrea Meyers: making life delicious. All images and text copyrighted, All Rights Reserved.]
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