Roasted Butternut Squash Soup / Butternut Squash Zuppa
“Autumn and winter offer lots of roots and squash which can be used in soup.” Antonio Carluccio. A pumpkin is a type of squash. In this recipe I’m using butternut squash instead of pumpkin because I prefer the slightly sweeter flavour of the butternut flesh. John
- 2 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into bite size chunks
- 1 large red onion, peeled and chopped into quarters
- 6 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 120 ml of semi-skimmed milk at room temperature
- 1½ litres of vegetable stock, homemade or made with 1 vegetarian gel tubs
- 3 tbsp of vegetarian ricotta cheese
- Fennel seeds
- Dried oregano
- Grated fresh sea salt and black peeper
- Good olive oil for cooking
- 1 handful of butternut squash seeds
- Turn the oven on and set to gas mark 6, electric 200°C (Fan oven 180°C).
- Depending on the number of butternut squash chunks you have you’ll need two or three roasting pans. Pour some olive oil into the pans to cover the bottom and add a little salt into the roasting pans. Add the chunks, the onions and the unpeeled garlic (unpeeled because they will not burn in the hot oven). Add a little more salt, then pepper, fennel seeds and oregano and stir so that all the vegetables have seeds and oil stuck to them.
- Put the pans into the oven and cook for 25 minutes. Take the pans out of the oven and test for tenderness with a fork. The vegetables should be starting to soften so stir them thoroughly and return them to the oven. Continue cooking the for a further 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and test for softness.
- Meanwhile, towards the end of the roasting time, if using vegetable gel pots put it into a large saucepan, add 1½ litres of boiling water. Return to the boil, stirring often, and lower to a simmer.
- Remove the garlic from the pans, cut open and remove the flesh. Return the garlic flesh to the pans and mix well. Store the pans in a warmed oven.
- In batches, place the vegetables and their juices from the roasting dish into a blender and blitz for 30 seconds. Add a little stock as required if it is too thick. Blitz again for 30 seconds.
- Taste and season with a little more salt and pepper if needed.
- Pour the pureed soup through a fine sieve into a casserole bowl.
- Place the vegetarian ricotta cheese in a small bowl. Add the milk and stir it through thoroughly with a fork until there are no lumps. Pour the mixture into the casserole bowl and mix thoroughly with the soup. If required stir in 2 or 3 ladles of stock to thin it down.
- Put the casserole dish with its lid in the oven set at gas mark 4, electric 180°C (Fan oven 160°) and warm it through for about 10 minutes.
- Serve into warmed bowls and sprinkle some butternut squash seeds into the middle.
- The soup flavour will be enhanced if covered, kept overnight in a fridge and eaten warm the following day. Note: How to roast squash seeds:
- Separate the seeds from the pulp while it’s all still wet. Once the pulp and the seeds dry, it’s more difficult to separate them.
- Rinse the pumpkin seeds under cold water in a colander to remove any remaining pulp stuck to them.
- Toss the seeds in a small amount of olive oil.
- Sprinkle with salt or other seasonings.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminium foil.
- Spread the seeds over the covered baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, 170°C, gas mark 3 for 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
- Allow to cool.