Monday, November 30, 2009


The Holidays are here, the colder weather is somewhat here, and that always gets me in the mood for soup. For Thanksgiving I was in charge of making Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Cheese Crostini that could feed an army of 40 people (one of the benefits of marrying into a big family)! The relatives were raving and so I wanted to share the recipe (courtesy of my favorite chef- Giada De Laurentiis) with all of my jet setters. I know this isn't a post about jet setting to a great destination, but since many people jet set to be with family for the holidays, I figured it would be fun to tell all of you about it. Plus, the soup is very easy to make- and for those of you that know me personally, I used to be the biggest klutz in the kitchen- so this was a big deal! :-)

- 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 7 to 8 cups) - 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

- 1/2 baguette, sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices
- Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
- 1 cup (2 ounces) grated fontina cheese
- Kosher salt

In an 8-quart stockpot, add the butter and oil and melt together over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the squash and the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the sage. Continue to boil until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep the soup warm over low heat.
For the crostini: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sage. Sprinkle the cheese on top and season with salt, to taste. Bake until the cheese has melted and the bread is light golden, about 6 to 8 minutes.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the cheese crostini.
Cook's Note: The cooked vegetable mixture can also be pureed (after cooling for about 5 minutes) by ladling, in batches, into a food processor or blender and blended until smooth.

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