Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Nothing makes me happier than blog requests.  I think it’s for the same reason I love to cook and feed people; I love taking the time and thinking about the delight and pleasure my guests will get out of the meal that I am preparing.  It’s my truest expression of love, with each turn of the spatula, each kneed of the dough, each slice of the knife, I am thinking of who I am preparing the meal for.  How to cater to their tastes, how to make them smile, to nourish not just the body but the soul and the spirit and with this act of love, I in turn, am nourishing my own self as well; feeling full not just from the meal but of love and gratitude for being able to give the gift of food to friends and readers.  Really it’s a win-win and then, a great meal too! So when a reader or a friend requests a recipe, I can’t wait to take the time to blog it.  My co-worker and friend Ellie, has been patiently awaiting this recipe after a party at my home.  I was worried I wouldn’t have enough food for the crowd that was about to descend upon the house so at the last minute I took stock of my pantry and saw that I had all the makings of Butternut Squash Soup.  Then one- two- three, soup’s on!  This recipe is simple but oh-so filling. It shines as a first course but has enough oomph to stand alone as a main dish and is perfect for those gluten free and vegetarian guests and loved ones.

Butternut squash is incredibly versatile.  The creamy texture works great in many dishes but it reaches its full potential in soup form.  It’s so velvety and dense; it doesn’t need a lot of work or added thickeners.    You can make Butternut Squash Soup with just the squash and onion but I love to add in tart, crisp apples and a sweet potato.  I feel these two extra ingredients take this recipe to the next level of yum.  Fresh herbs make everything better so try not to use dried sage if you can help it but in a pinch it will do.  With simple recipes, the quality of the ingredients is even more important.  Finally, whenever I make a soup, be it a broth based soup like chicken noodle or a creamy soup like this one, I always, always sauté my ingredients, it pulls out the flavors and it makes all the difference in the world.  So take the time to brown your veggies before you add broth and simmer them down. You will be left with a soup that you will make you want to lick the bowl when you’re finished.

All the making of a fine pot of soup

butternut squashperfectly easy to peel sage beautiful sagele creuset full of soupButternut Squash soup

You will need:

  • 1 butternut squash, cubed*
  • 1 bunch of sage minced
  • 2 apples cubed
  • 1 onion minced
  • 1 Sweet potato cubed
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth**
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup cream or half and half (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

How to:

  • Heat butter in pan and add onion, cooking for 3 minutes or until translucent
  • Add squash (reserving 1 cup of cubed squash), potato, apples, and sage and sauté for 10 minutes
  • Add broth and bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer until vegetables are soft
  • Pour chunky soup into blender and puree
  • Pour pureed soup back into pot and add reserved cubes, simmering until reserved cubes are al dente
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and cream if desired
  • Serve

*How to prep your butternut squash:  Slice in half and remove seeds; with the flesh side down, use a peeler to remove the skin and then slice into cubes.

** For Marcella Rose’s simple chicken broth recipe click here

Soup’s on,

Marcella Rose

Butternut Squash Soup

Creamed Lion’s Mane Mushroom on Conchiglie

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November is here. We’ve had a rough start to the month as the Chestnut Cottage on B Street lost our Box Elder Tree. We are renting, so we didn’t have much say in the matter, but our landlord (being amazing) did all they could to save the tree and in their defense, one of its giant trunks came crashing into the neighbors yard during a windstorm a few months ago. Six arborists later, the conclusion was that this lovely tree had to come down for the safety of all. To be honest I was a mess, sobbing like a small child who has lost their first pet goldfish. Of course I went out and purchased a nice bottle of pink champagne to toast the tree. My husband (also being ever amazing) left the lights wrapped around it for that final night, waking up at 4 am, donning a headlamp to take them off in the foggy-fall Oregon morning before they came to take her down.

As I have been mourning the tree, I realize how thankful I am for the gifts it gave us; the shade it provided, the cocoon of safety her spreading branches gave our little house, her branches giving support for the patio lights that strung across our yard. As I was giving thanks to the tree for its gifts, I started noticing the other gifts that had come my way. My parents, as badass and rad as they come, came up for our annual Halloween Soirée. My mom handed me a bunch of fresh sage as beautiful and fragrant as any floral bouquet. My father gave me a bottle of perhaps the best Sauvignon Blanc I have ever had in my possession. My sweet in-laws had gifted us some stellar onions, fresh from the black earth of Idaho. Then there are the neighbors, this band of supreme human beings, who constantly make our lives ever so much better. Living in Oregon, I have noticed there are two types of friends, there are friends, and then there are friends who give you mushrooms; these neighbors are the latter.   Yesterday they stopped by with a box full of magic, a lion’s mane mushroom so full and beautiful it looked like a creature from the sea. As I sat on the porch gazing sadly at the stump left from our beloved tree, a recipe came to me; celebrating the gifts that I had been given and turning my attitude of loss to one of thankfulness, seemingly perfect for the season.

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I created this recipe full of gifts, Creamed Lion’s Mane Mushroom on Conchiglie. As these mushrooms are rare, you can substitute with your favorite fungi, be it chanterelles, portabellas, or even the humble button mushroom. Whenever making pasta, choose your noodle based on sauce; Conchiglie is perfect for this thick mushroom sauce as the little shells scoop up the puree and hold it tight delivering sheer joy to your lips.

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You will need

1-pound mushrooms – rough chopped

4-tablespoons butter

1 yellow onion – diced

4 cloves garlic – minced

1-cup white wine – only cook with wine you would drink so make it good

1-cup cream, plus more for thinning

16-ounces of your favorite pasta – I used Conchiglie

¼-cup chopped sage

Salt and pepper to taste

How To:

Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium high heat

Add onions and cook until light brown

Toss in garlic and sage and stir until fragrant – about one minute

Add more butter to the mushrooms if needed, turning down the heat to medium

Allow the mushrooms to brown for 2 minutes and flip

Begin to boil water for your pasta

Add the wine to the sauté pan and bring to a boil until the wine is absorbed into the mushrooms

Turn down the heat to medium, adding the cream

Add pasta to boiling salted water

Once the cream has begun to thicken, remove ½ of the mixture to your blender

Blend and add back to the remaining half of your sauce

Strain your pasta and toss with Parmesan and fresh sage and serve

I wish that I could give you something….

but I have nothing left.

I am just an old stump.

I am sorry….”

“I don’t need very much now,” said the boy.

“just a quiet place to sit and rest.

I am very tired.”

“Well,” said the tree, straightening

herself up as much as she could,

“well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting

Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.”

And the boy did.

And the tree was happy”

– Shel Silverstien

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In gratitude and thanks for this giving tree,

Marcella Rose

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