Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

I'm really into roasting things lately. Its so easy and food comes out with so much more flavor!  I bought a butternut squash at the store because Henry really likes them, so I had to find something to make with it for Steve and me to eat. And, I had some gorgonzola on hand... it was on sale. This is the perfect recipe for that combination. I roasted all of the veggies and pears the night before, so all I had to do was re-heat and blend. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but many of them are things you probably have on-hand.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
Adapted from www.eatingwell.com

2 ripe pears, peeled, quartered and cored
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks (make sure you peel all the way through the thick outer layer)
2 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered (substitute 1 can diced tomatoes, drained if desired)
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and quartered 
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
2/3 cup crumbled blue-veined cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Combine pears, squash, tomatoes (if using fresh), onion, garlic, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 40 to 55 minutes. Let cool slightly or refrigerate until ready to use.

In a large soup pot, combine the cooked veggies and pears, chicken stock, and tomatoes (if using canned).  Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.  Using an immersion blender, blend until there are no more chunks of vegetables and soup is smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender, puree half of the soup at a time in a blender or food processor.  Return to heat and bring to a simmer. Top with cheese or serve on the side.

Makes 8 cups.

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