winter squash soup

I guess looking great photos of pumpkins is – to foodies- what cute kitten photos are to the rest of the world. I got so many wonderful comments when I posted about pumpkin risotto the other day. And most of them were for the photos, not the recipe. So…thank you! In fact, thank you so much, here’s another.

I think it’s hard NOT to get great pumpkin photos this time of year. The farmers markets in Rome are groaning with all sorts of wonderful zucche. Speaking of which. In Italian zucche stands in for just about any winter squash. I was talking to my sister earlier, about pumpkin soup recipes, and she kept insisting she didn’t use pumpkin. The problem was that I was using the word ‘pumpkin’ to mean any old zucca: butternut, acorn…whatever. 

We had ten people for dinner on Sunday, and so I decided to make soup. Soup’s so much easier with guests, instead of pasta – which involves at least some last minute prepping. With soup, you just heat and serve. 
I’ve made versions of this soup over the years, and always play around with the ingredients. Sometimes, to make it rich, I add cream. If I’m feeling like something Asian, I’ll add a can of coconut milk. Last Sunday I was feeling very traditional, so kept the seasonings to  a minimal. Just a touch of coriander, and then lots of ground ginger to give it zing. 
As you can see from the still life above, I used a bunch of different pumpkins. Or rather, winter squash. Or zucche. Whatever. 

Winter Squash Soup
Serves 12
3 Butternut squashes (or the equivalent of other types of firm, orange sweet squash)
olive oil
2 liters of chicken broth
1 Tblsp Butter
1 Tblsp olive oil
2 leeks
1 small onion
2 tsp ground coriander
4 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180c/350f
Quarter the squashes, or cut them into large wedges. Place on a baking sheet, and rub them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Roast until tender, about 45 minutes, and edges start to brown.
Take out of oven and let cool. 
In large soup pot heat butter and olive oil. Add sliced leeks. Let cook until softened, about 15 minutes.
Add flesh of squash, scooped out of the shells. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mess, it will all get pureed later. Stir around a bit, so the flavors mix.
Add broth and bring to simmmer, and let cook for about 15 minutes.
In small frying pan heat another Tblsp of olive oil, and add onion, chopped and coriander and ginger. Let the onion cook fast, browning a bit, and stirring. Put in the soup and stir.
Puree the soup with an immersible blender. Taste for seasonings. 
The soup is such a pretty color, it’s fun to garnish it. I used swirls of yogurt and roasted pumpkin seed oil, which gave it a nutty taste. A bit of good balsamic would work too, as would a dollop of marscapone (my sister’s idea).
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  1. says

    Just this past Friday, Melissa was on Leonard Lopate talking about how she uses butternut instead of pumpkin for pumpkin pie. Sounds like the two of you are in cahoots with the interchangeable squash talk.

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