Recently, after testing a recipe for roasted butternut squash with mascarpone and honey, I had a generous baking dish of leftovers. The recipe yielded 6 to 8 servings, but we are a household of empty nesters. Looking at the mound of cooked butternut squash in my fridge, I reasoned that I could easily turn this dish into a soup. And, that’s exactly what I did by adding some chicken stock and extra spices to the mixture. Voilà, a delicious new creation!
Since then, I’ve tweaked the recipe for this autumnal potage several times. I paired some sautéed leeks with the diced roasted squash and seasoned the mélange with a trio of spices, including curry, thyme, and cayenne. When puréed and enriched with mascarpone, this soup had a velvety smooth texture and burst with robust flavors.
During my testing frenzy, I dropped off a batch to friends who were both under the weather. That night they called to say that the soup had made a perfect light supper and that they would love to have the recipe. So, I’m happy to share it in this post with my pals and with all of you.
Oh, here’s one last thought. Since this soup can be prepared ahead and yields six large servings or 8 smaller ones, keep it in mind as a starter for your Thanksgiving menus.
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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Mascarpone and Honey
2 pds peeled butternut squash or peeled butternut squash pieces (See market tip.)
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted plus 1 1/2 tbsp for sautéing the leeks
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped leeks
6 cups chicken stock plus up to 1 cup extra if needed
1 1/4 tsp curry powder
1 1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 cup mascarpone at room temperature, divided
1 tbsp honey
Thyme sprigs for garnish, optional
1.Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.If you didn’t purchase diced butternut squash, cut the peeled squash into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes You should get about 6 1/2 to 7 cups. Transfer the diced squash to a shallow 3-quart baking dish such as a 9- by 13-inch glass or ceramic dish. Pour 5 tablespoons melted butter over the cubes and season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper. Toss to combine.
3.Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake until squash is very lightly browned and tender when pierced with a sharp knife, 35 to 45 minutes. Stir the squash with a wooden spoon after 20 minutes. When done, remove the dish from the oven.
4.While the squash is roasting, heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a medium Dutch oven (with a lid) set over medium heat. When hot, add the chopped leeks and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside until squash has finished roasting.
5.Add the roasted butternut squash to the pot with the leeks and stir well. Add stock, curry powder, dried thyme, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and cayenne. Bring mixture to a simmer, and then lower heat to a simmer, and cover. Cook until vegetables are very tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.
6.Puree the soup in small batches using a food processor or blender. (Or use an immersion blender to process the soup in the pot.) Return the pureed soup to the pot in which it was cooked and whisk in 1/2 cup of the mascarpone. Taste and add more salt, if desired. You might need to add a generous amount of extra salt depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock you used. (The soup can be prepared 1 day ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over medium low heat, stirring. If soup is too thick, thin with extra stock.)
7.In a medium bowl whisk 1 tablespoon honey into the remaining 1/2 cup mascarpone until well blended. Ladle soup into soup bowls; garnish each serving with a generous dollop of mascarpone with honey, and, if desired, with a couple of thyme sprigs.
Serves 6 with large portions and 8 with slightly smaller ones.
Market tip: Look for peeled butternut squash in the produce section of the supermarket. Some groceries sell peeled butternut squash halves (which you will need to cube), and others offer the squash cubed. The packages are often 20 ounces so you would need not quite 2 packages to make this recipe.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2023