Butternut Squash Soup With Sage And Honey

Fresh sage enhances the flavor of the butternut squash. Top with creme fraiche, and serve with a warm loaf of crusty bread.

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, 4 pounds
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 6 sage leaves
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup creme fraiche

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Prick the squash with a fork and place it whole on a sheet pan. Roast for 45 minutes in the oven until the squash has softened. Cool the squash, then cut it in half and remove the seeds. Peel the halves and cut into 2-inch chunks. Reserve.

Peel, trim, and coarsely chop the onion. Reserve.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter starts to brown, add the onion and saute until it is translucent and starts to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the honey to the onions and cook until it bubbles. Add the squash chunks and sage. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the chicken stock and enough water to cover the squash by an inch. Bring the soup to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook the soup until the onions and squash are very tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add more liquid if necessary to keep the squash submerged.

Remove the pan from the heat and cool for 15 minutes.

Puree the soup in a blender. Do not fill the blender more than two-thirds full or you risk having the contents explode. Allow the steam to escape by removing the center plug in the lid and covering the hole with a thick towel to protect your hand. Hold the lid securely down and lift the towel slightly to allow the pressurized air to escape as you blend.

Strain through a coarse strainer if you want a smoother soup or return it directly to the pan; season it with salt and pepper to taste. Bring the finished soup back to a boil.

Ladle it into bowls and serve with a spiral of creme fraiche, about 1 tablespoon per bowl.

Yield: 8 servings

Butternut Squash Risotto With Saffron And Honey

Risotto requires that attention be paid. But it is worth it!

This recipe combines the richness of risotto with the hearty fall flavor of butternut squash. And honey just makes it better!

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.

In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, honey, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve.