Chunky Butternut Squash, White Bean and Tomato Soup

We’re back from Colorado. It was great — cool air, dry, and beautiful. A nice break from the muggy end of summer in St. Louis. Gabi sprouted a molar, which meant little sleep for everyone. Even so, we had family who could babysit. We took some short hikes. It was a nice break from the house and work.

Before we left, Jeff gave me an early birthday present: a fancy new camera. I’ve already taken a couple hundred pictures of pine trees, mountains, deer. Gabi, who turns one in about a week, is in most of them. And today I took some shots of this nourishing soup.

I love this soup. It’s easy to throw together on a weeknight. It can be made in advance and stored for several days. It has a slight hint of sweetness, it’s hearty and it’s comforting. I highly recommend the roasted pumpkin seeds. The crunch adds texture, and the salt makes the soup even better.

Of course, this time of year I can’t wait for winter squash. Butternut and acorn started appearing at farmers markets in mid-August. But this was one of the hottest summers on record in St. Louis.  I never feel right using winter squash when its 90 degrees.

This soup, when doubled, will make several meals for two people. With a salad and some crusty bread, it’s perfect. Love it.

Chunky Butternut Squash, White Bean and Tomato Soup
slightly adapted from Gourmet Today

2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
2 cups water
1 3/4 cups chicken stock, or low-sodium chicken broth
1 (16- to 19-ounce) can white beans, preferably cannellini, rinsed and drained
2 tomatoes from a can, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas), optional [use roasted, salted ones to save time]
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus additional for serving
Freshly ground black pepper

Cook garlic in 1 tablespoon oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 1 minute. Add squash, water, stock, beans, tomatoes, and sage, bring to a simmer, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pumpkin seeds, if using raw and unsalted ones, in remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over moderately low heat, stirring, until seeds are puffed and lightly toasted, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt.

Mash some of squash against sides of saucepan to thicken soup. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with pumpkin seeds, if using, and cheese.

Serves 4 as a main course.


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