Butternut Squash Soup with Pesto Garnish
This soup may be made one to two days ahead and refrigerated. Keep the pesto mixture separate and dollop on each bowl right before serving. Many stores now carry fresh butternut squash that has been peeled and cut into chunks, which is a perfectly good shortcut (and better than the frozen squash, which tends to be a little watery).
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut in 3/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onion
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon half-and-half, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup prepared pesto sauce
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the squash, carrots, onion, celery, coriander and nutmeg; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 12 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 cup of the half-and-half and salt. Cool 10 minutes; puree in batches in a blender or food processor.
2. Meanwhile, stir together the pesto and remaining 1 tablespoon of cream. Ladle the soup into 8 bowls and garnish with a spoonful of the pesto.
Makes 8 servings