Food + Wine

Parmesan Squash Soup with Sage ( a.k.a that big hug you need )

You know what they say… When you want a hug, make soup.

Do they say that?  They should.  I don’t even love soup.  I do love hugs.  But it’s the idea of soup that’s so huggy.  Also, I think it’s just the fact that, speaking from a culinary level, you just know that soup is there for you when you need it.  You do a little bit of work early on, and then soup lets you know all day that he’s there when you’re ready for him… arms stretched out, full of warmth and perfumed invitation, just waiting for that hug.

I’m perhaps a little too excited about this soup.  And not just because it’s delicious and soul soothing (see definition for all soups…).  But because it is made completely from scratch AND ALSO could not be easier to do.  I didn’t chop or sauté a THING.

Nope.

I’m tellin’ ya… I’ve hit cheffy short-cut gold here, people.  Hold onto your boots.

So this soup recipe I’m about to share with you starts with a whole butternut squash that you do no have to peel or deal with in its raw state at all.

Did you hear that?

Because, as you all know- peeling and cutting butternut squash just kinda sucks.  That squash can be a major butt sometimes.  But the way I’m showing you here, it cooks whole, in it’s skin…  Which is amazing and lovely.  And I know that might not be big news to some of you seasoned cooks, but this will:

I also did the same thing to an onion.

Whaaa??

Yup. I just reeeeally didn’t feel like chopping or sautéing anything, but wanted the real flavors of a home-cooked, made-from-scratch, soup.  So… I roasted the squash and the onion whole, then peeled them both, plopped them into a pot of parmesan-infused chicken stock (that parmesan rind is never to be thrown away!), threw in a bit of butter, seasoned it up, and pureed it all using an immersion blender.

That’s.  It.

I even foil-lined the baking sheet with the squash and onion so I didn’t have to clean it.  Yup.

Do not mess with my smarts when I’m on comfort-mode, people.

Then, last minute, I decided I wanted a fancy finisher and made some Parmesan crisps with sage that took no time at all, but made the bowl look like I suffered over pots and pans all day.

THAT’S how we smart women get through a lazy day, y’all.  Smoke and mirrors.

 

PARMESAN SQUASH SOUP WITH SAGE 

serves about 4

. soup .

In a large soup pot, add the following…

  • 1 quart/4 cups of chicken stock/broth (homemade is always best, but use a good quality storebought brand if you don’t have homemade.  Swanson has been tested to be the best homemade sub… and you can make this vegetarian and use veggie stock if you need to)
  • 1 large Parmigiano Reggiano rind
  • 1 bay leaf

Cover the pot and bring to a very low simmer.  Really, you’re just infusing flavor here, so bubbles aren’t necessary. You’re gonna let this go as long as it takes you to cook your squash, etc.

While that’s happening, take a…

  • 3 1/2-4 lb. butternut squash (any other winter squash would work as well)

…and stab it a couple times with a knife. Place it on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Whole, un-peeled.

Do the same exact same thing to a… 

  • medium sized yellow onion

Again, just stab it a couple times, keeping it whole and un-peeled.  Place it next to the squash on the foil-lined sheet.

Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for 2 hours, or until they look like this…

Allow them to cool.

Remove the parm rind and the bay leaf from the stock pot.  Set aside.

Peel the onion and remove the steam piece, and place the whole, softened onion directly into the stock.

Cut into the softened, whole squash and scoop out the seeds and strings.  Discard.  Scoop out all the flesh, leaving the peel behind, and place the flesh into the stock with the onion.  Discard the peel by just wrapping it up in the foil!  Easy clean-up 😉

Add to the pot…

  • 2 TB of unsalted butter
  • 3 tsp kosher salt (start lighter than this and add more if need be… depending on the salinity of your stock/broth)
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Use an immersion blender and puree it all until it’s completely smooth.

If you’re making this ahead of time and need to keep it warm, place the parm rind and bay leaf back in (because more flavor never hurt anybody) and keep it on low, covered, until you’re ready to serve.

 

. parmesan-sage crisps .

Right before serving, bring a non-stick skillet up to medium heat.  Sprinkle in…

  • about 2 TB of shredded Parmigianno 

Spread it out into a single layer.  (Make as many of these as you need to have one ‘crisp’ per bowl)

Season the cheese with…

  • some freshly grated nutmeg

And press a whole sage leaf into the center as the cheese melts and when it’s still soft.

Allow the cheese to melt, and begin to brown.  Then turn off the heat and allow the cheese to cool and harden in the skillet, therefore making somewhat of a cracker.

Remove the hard cheese crisp with a flat spatula and place one on each soup bowl before serving.

Or serve alongside… The cheese will soften and melt a bit when placed in the bowl, so if you’d rather keep it crispy, place it on the side.  Either way, it’s delicious.

Thanks for reading, lovelies.  Hugs to you all. xo

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