Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bringing out the big guns
to make Butternut Squash Soup

“It’s time to bring out the big guns,” my husband said he brandished the meat cleaver in the air over the butternut squash.
   He was about to cut the squash for some soup we were preparing to make.
   Cutting through the thick squash is no easy task, requiring a “big gun” knife.
   My husband cut through the squash at the point where the slimmer top meets the bulb-like bottom, then cut the bulb-like bottom in half.
   Then he peeled the squash, took out the seeds from the bottom, and cut the flesh into pieces.
   Thank goodness my husband has developed this butternut squash-cutting technique, which allows us to enjoy a fall classic: Butternut squash soup.
   We were making Giada De Laurentiis’s Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Cheese Crostini (click for the recipe on the Food Network website).
   The soup was terrific. The squash and its slight sweetness was allowed to speak for itself. The soup was wonderfully creamy without cream.
   The crostini on the side could be considered optional, I suppose, but the pieces were a wonderful little side to the soup, especially when dipped into it before eating.
   Making the soup was a bit labor-intensive with the squash-cutting and all, but it wasn’t difficult to make.
   Chopped onion, carrot, and garlic are cooked in a stock pot. The squash, cut in pieces, chicken stock (we used store-bought chicken broth) and chopped fresh sage are added and the mixture boiled for 20 minutes.
   The mixture is then puréed with a blender. My husband used an immersion or hand-held blender, which is very easy to use and doesn’t require the soup being moved out of the pot. There is also instructions at the bottom of the recipe on how to use a food processor to purée the soup.
   While the soup is boiling and before it's blended, the crostini is made. Slices of baguette are drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with fresh sage and grated Fontina cheese. These are baked until the cheese has melted, about six to eight minutes.
   The soup is ladled into bowls and served with the crostini on the side.

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