I wanted to use two small butternut squashes the other night for dinner, but didn’t have a ton of time to think about what I would do with them, so in the early afternoon, I threw them in a hot oven, and when they were done, this soup was born. It ended up just taking a matter of minutes to pull together at the dinner hour, complete with croutons from some day-old bread. I quickly jotted what I did down, so I can do it again. Plus, with all the rain and my gigantic sage plant, I need some great ways to use this pretty herb. Consider roasting the squash the night before, the morning of, or in the early afternoon, if you need dinner to come together quickly at night. Simply put the roasted squash in the fridge until you are ready to use it (you can just wrap it in the aluminum that you baked it in!)
Butternut Squash Soup with Sage
2 small butternut squash, or one large one
1-2 T. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 T. butter
4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
2 c. water
1 parmesan rind
2 t. dried sage
1/2-1 c. cream
2-3 sliced country bread, torn into rough pieces
2 T. butter
1/4 c. parmesan
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the butternut squash in half, and brush with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. (You may also want to sprinkle it with 1/2-1 t. of sugar, if you want to bring the sweetness out and caramelize the squash while it roasts. This is a great tip from America’s Test Kitchen.)
2. When the oven is ready, roast the squash for 45-60 minutes, or until it is soft under the prick of a fork. Remove from oven and let cool until you are ready to make your soup.
3. For the soup: heat a stockpot over medium to medium-high heat. When hot, add the butter until it’s melted, then add the onion and saute until translucent but not browned, 5-7 minutes. Add in the sage and saute for 1 minute, then add the chicken stock and water. Meanwhile, scoop the seeds out of the butternut squash and discard them, and then scoop the flesh away from the skin of the squash and add to the stockpot along with (or after, if your timing is more like mine!) the stock and water. Also add the parmesan rind, if using. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for as long as you have time, but aim for at least 5-10 minutes to meld flavors.
4. Just before serving, remove the stockpot from the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a traditional blender. Once the soup has been pureed, add the cream, but don’t allow the soup to boil again, in order to keep its creaminess. Adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.
5. For the croutons: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, and add the butter once it’s heated. Allow the butter to fully melt, and then add the bread, sauteing for a a few minutes, until the bread is browned to your liking, about 5-7 minutes. Individually portion the soup, and then top with the croutons, grating the parmesan on top. Beautiful!