Butternut Squash Soup (& Pasta Sauce Base!)

Okay – either everyone thinks this sounds horrible and they want to know what it is so they never accidentally put these ingredients together….OR….it sounds awesome. So awesome in fact, that it is my most-viewed post. Seriously, someone looks at it at least every other day. Unless it’s the same someone. If that’s the case – stop messing with mah head, you!

In case the reason is what I’m secretly hoping, that it sound awesome, I’ve decided to re-post it in honor of T-Day. Why in honor of T-Day? Because last year I made it as a first course, and the family went downright gaga. It overshadowed a lot of other stuff. Woops. And this year, my sis asked me to make enough so she could try it as leftover pasta sauce like I have been trying to convince her to do.

So with that, here is a repost of my recipe for Butternut Squash Soup (& Pasta Sauce Base). Okay so you don’t have  to try it for T-Day (this year), but you should try it in general. Both ways. I’m telling you. Just do it.

(Only a little has changed from the original post, but you’re welcome to check that out as well!)

Also, I should note that this is different from most butternut squash soup recipes, as it omits the cream. **GASP!**

“Why?!” you ask. Well, because butternut takes like just that. Buttery and nutty. No cream needed. Enjoy the flavor of the squash for goodness sakes people! Also, a quick hint: butternut squash is a pain in the (insert aH-ooooga here) to cut. Do it once if you must (like I did, so I could say that I did) but then, head to your local store (my Trader Joe’s has it – yay!) and get the already cut up kind. You’ll be happy you did, particularly if you’re doing this for T-Day, when you already have other things to worry about.

Okay. Rant over. Recipe begins …. now!

Ingredients

(serves about 8-10)

  • 2 tablespoons butter or 3 tbsp olive oil (I typically use olive oil because I usually don’t have any butter except around the holidays)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrot, chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 2 (64 fluid ounce) container chicken stock or chicken bouillon/water (I usually use bouillon because I always have it on hand)
  • 3 cloves of garlic,chopped finely
  • 1 tsp each of cumin and smoked paprika each
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • chives (for garnish, optional)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Melt the oil or butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, and squash 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. You can also roast the veggies in the oven on a large baking sheet instead and throw them in the pot. Add a couple pinches of kosher salt to the veggies while they’re cooking.
  2. Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables and add all your spices (or just half the spices, so you can adjust the levels to your taste at the end). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 30-40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.
  3. Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. (I got a stick blender from the wedding and it has been one of my favorite tools! Just insert the stick blender into the pot and voila! So much LESS MESS!) By the way, you can leave a few small pieces of vegetables for color and so you can see some of what is in there, or you can blend it totally smooth.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, and add additional cumin and smoked paprika here if desired.
  5. Serve with dollop of sour cream and if you’d like, a sprinkle of chives. I like my food really colorful, so the addition of the chives makes my eyes happy!

The creaminess of the squash is awesome, and the first time I made this, I used some sour cream leftover from a party and fresh french bread. The setup was perfect! I thought this recipe was the perfect base for the spices I love to use, and I always encourage my friends and family to use the spices THEY love in the recipes they stumble upon.You’ll love it even more!

Although….sometimes it’s good to make the recipe as-is first, particularly if you’re not very culinarily comfortable (haha I think I just made up a phrase). Or simply use other ingredients in a recipe that you normally wouldn’t use, just to keep things interesting : ) For Thanksgiving, we use this as a “first course.”

Leftovers? What Leftovers?

The first time I made this, I used the leftovers over pasta for the next night and it was marvelous! I browned lean ground turkey in a pan, then added a few ladles full of soup, cooked some of the liquid off, added red pepper flakes and a good helping of parmesan cheese. I then mixed in cooked whole grain pasta right into the pan to let the sauce coat the pasta! Yeah, do it!

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