Roasting the butternut squash intensifies the flavour, which gives the soup a lovely sweetness and depth of flavour. The parmesan cheese which is stirred in at the end adds smoothness without needing to use cream. The recipe below can easily be made suitable for a vegetarian diet – scroll down to the bottom of the page for these simple modifications.
I haven’t specified a weight for the butternut squash, but try and get a good sized one. If your squash is particularly big, you might want to increase the amount of stock slightly.
Butternut Squash Soup
(Serves 4 as a starter)
1 butternut squash
1tbsp rapeseed oil or similar
1 small white onion, finely chopped
500-750ml hot chicken stock
2tbsp parmesan cheese
Salt, to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 200C
Cut the squash into quarters, vertically, and remove the seeds. Use 1 tsp of the rapeseed oil to rub over each of the quarters and put on a baking tray.
Roast in the oven for 45 mins or until the flesh is soft and starting to char at the edges. Use your judgement on this, you might need a few minutes more or less depending on how chunky your squash is.
Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Put the remaining 2tsp of rapeseed oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and sweat over a low/medium flame. This should take around 6-8 minutes, the onion needs to be translucent but don’t let it brown.
Scoop the flesh of the butternut squash off the skin and add to the saucepan, breaking the squash up into chunks. Pour over enough of the hot chicken stock for all of the vegetables to be covered with stock. Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Either use a stick blender, or pour it into a liquidizer and blend until smooth. If you are using a liquidizer, I would let the soup cool slightly before blending. Blend in small quantities, and cover the top of the jug with a cloth to avoid scalding accidents.
Return the soup to the pan (if you have used a liquidizer), stir in the parmesan and taste – add a pinch of salt or a little more parmesan if you think the soup needs it. Bear in mind that the stock and the cheese are both salty, so you shouldn’t need too much in the way of seasoning
Heat through gently before serving.
To make this soup vegetarian
Simply replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock, and use a rennet-free parmesan substitute.