What is October without a butternut squash recipe? When I saw a @krautkopf instagram photo of butternut gnocchi with butter & sage, pine nuts and parmesan, I knew I had to make it in that very instant. I mean that ingredients list! Phew. Italian decadence at its best. However, time came in between, and decided I couldn’t spend an entire afternoon kneading dough and forming gnocchis, so it would have to be something simpler. This endless The Killing-weather calls for something warm and comforting, that basically cooks itself on the stove. Like soup. Everybody likes soup.
Butternut squash is a winter squash with a taste similar to pumpkin and sweet potato. I love to dice it and roast in oven along with some root veggies and herbs, or bake whole and scope out the soft and sweet flesh and make butternut hummus. I’m sure it would also be lovely in pancakes or quinoa salad.
The combination of rich and creamy butternut squash with nutty brown butter and the characteristic flavor of fresh sage leaves is unbeatable. A salty parmesan cheese and pine nut crunch is a nice addition to this otherwise rather sweet soup. This dish is very filling, so I suggest serving it in small cups as a starter : ) We had it with chanterelle toast which was a killer, but were followed by a serious food coma.
For once I got hold of an affordable piece of Parmigiano Reggiano, which gave this dish an extra luxurious feeling. Gran Padando, Pecorino or some other dry, salty cheese would of course also work perfectly!
But before we continue with the recipe, I want to say a few words about the food styling & photography workshop I attended this weekend! During the 6 hour workshop we styled, shot & ate an amazing, colorful, three course winter lunch at the home and workplace of lovely Sonja Dahlberg at Dagmar’s Kitchen, and it was so much fun! I’ve truly learnt a lot. I also loved seeing how a food photographer works “behind the scenes”! It made me realize that most of us struggle with the same issues of space, time, where to find props and backgrounds, finding solutions to situations that are new to us and eventually, at some point, actually working with the things we love the most. Well obviously I’m not there yet, but it was really inspiring seeing Sonja at work. I’m still so exhausted from all the impressions, inspiring conversations and new information, so I will have to get back to you on this workshop a little later, once I’ve processed it all. I snapped my entire camera card full of photos so I’ll definitely have material for a blog post or two : ) What I can say for now is that the styling I did for this butternut squash soup earlier this week suddenly looks very amateurish, haha…
Butternut Squash Soup with Brown Butter & Sage, Pine Nuts and Parmigiano Reggiano
for the soup:
1 butternut squash
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
4-5 tbsp rapseed/olive/coconut oil
ca 7-8 dl / 3 – 3 1/2 cups water
1 vegetable stock cube
1 dl / 0,4 cups coconut milk
1 lemon, juice
1/2 – 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
droplet of honey (optional)
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste
for the brown butter & sage:
50 g butter
7 fresh sage leaves
pine nuts & parmesan or pecorino cheese
Notes to this recipe: 1) I added some potatoes and carrots cause I wanted more soup than the one squash would give me. You can of course make the soup using only butternut squash, or pair it with whatever root veggies you like : ) 2) A splash of white wine would be a lovely addition in this soup. I use apple cider vinegar that I find gives the soup a similar quality 3) Parmesan cheese can be switched for pecorico, gran padano or other salty, dry cheese.
Set oven to 200’C/390’F. Halve butternut squash and put with flat side up on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake for around 1 hour and 20 min, until the flesh is soft and edges slightly browned. My gas oven is pretty slow, so don’t rely too much on the time. This step can be prepared in advance! I did this the day before.
Chop onion and garlic. Gently stir-fry in a large sauce pan on medium high heat with a generous amount of oil (around 4-5 tbsp). Peel and dice potatoes and carrots. Add to the sauce pan along with one vegetable stock cube and cover with water (around 7-8 dl / 3 cups). Bring to boiling, then lower heat and let simmer until potatoes and carrots are soft (ca 10-15 min). Scope out the flesh of the butternut squash and add to the sauce pan. Let simmer for an additional couple of minutes. Remove from the stove and use a hand-held blender to mix the soup until completely smooth. Return sauce pan to stove and add coconut milk, juice from one lemon, apple cider vinegar and honey if you want it sweeter. Add more water if necessary. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Let simmer on low heat for a couple of minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
In a small sauce pan (preferably a thick-bottomed), gently melt butter along with sage leaves. Let simmer on medium low heat while stirring for a couple of minutes until butter is browned and start smelling like fudge. Careful not to burn it! Remove foam, and set aside.
In a dry skillet, gently toast pine nuts until golden. Set aside.
Serve the soup with a drizzle of brown butter, sprinkle of pine nuts and parmigiano shavings on top.
Lovely as a starter served in small cups, or as a main course along with a nice, sourdough bread.
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Something else! Swedish coffee company Löfberg’s contacted me for 5 quick questions on food and coffee breaks. You can find the mini-interview on their blog! (in Swedish) I’m so honored to be featured in such outstanding company as Linda Lomelino, Evelinas Ekologiska and Milk & Arsenik!
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