I’ve always been a huge fan of soups. My mum used to rely quite heavily on them to feed us throughout the week. Wednesdays were Grandma’s soup day. She would prepare her smooth, deep green concoction in the mornings, after coming back from the market, and my mum would drive over to her house and pick our dinner up before coming home from work.
Soups have always been there, but until I left home for good I never thought they could allow so much experimentation and, why not, adventure. Anyone reading this cringing at the word soup coupled with the word adventure, I’m afraid this blog might not be for you.
Naturally, I imagine there will also be some among you who will cringe at the thought of the word adventure coupled with the concept of pumpkin and butternut squash soup. Well, here’s the thing: we Italians, we might grow up with pizza (weekly) and pasta (daily), but pumpkins? Not so much.
Soups are very forgiving. Missing ingredients or tweaked quantities, it all gets smoothed out when you blend it. Therefore, take my directions as a guidance, and let yourself loose in that adventurous wilderness that is soup making!
2 butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 medium-sized pumpkin, peeled and diced
5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1.5 lt vegetable stock
fresh herbs of your choice, such as sage, rosemary and thyme
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper and extra virgin olive oil (alternatively, cold pressed rapeseed oil) to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Place pumpkin, butternut squash, onion and garlic on two lightly oiled baking trays and roast until the edges of the vegetables become golden.
Place everything apart from the garlic cloves in a large pan, add herbs and bay leaf and cover with the vegetable stock and place on the hob. Meanwhile, carefully cut one end of each garlic clove and push its flesh out of the skin, inside the pan.
When the soup is warm throughout, spoon out the bay leaf and herbs, take the blender (or transfer to your mixer) and puree the mixture. At this point, you can serve straight away, or keep in the pan for a few hours. I usually transfer some of the soup in plastic containers, wait until it’s cooled down and then freeze it.