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Winter Squash Soup with Fried Sage Leaves

Source: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
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Active Time:  25 Minutes
Total Time:  50 Minutes
  Serves 4 to 6
The technique used to make this soup can be repeated for other soups, the seasonings - be they sweet or spicy - varied to suit your tastes. Although the soup is good without it, the cheese adds a flavor note that punctuates the natural sweetness of the squash.
RECIPE INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 to 3 pounds winter squash
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for the squash
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
12 whole sage leaves, plus 2 tablespoons chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
Chopped leaves from 4 thyme sprigs or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and freshly milled pepper
2 quarts water or vegetable stock
1/2 cup Fontina, pecorino, or ricotta salata, diced into small cubes  
DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds. Brush the surfaces with oil, stuff the cavities with the garlic, and place them cut sides down on a baking sheet. Bake until tender when presses with a finger, about 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the 1/4 cup oil until nearly smoking, then drop the whole sage leaves and fry until speckled and dark, about 1 minute. Set the leaves aside on a paper towel and transfer the oil to a wide soup pot. Add the onions, chopped sage, thyme, and parsley and cook over medium heat until the onions have begun to brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Scoop the squash flesh into the pot along with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes. If the soup becomes too think, simply add more water to thin it out. Taste for salt.


Depending on the type of squash you've used, the soup will be smooth or rough. Puree or pass it through a food mill if you want a more refined soup. Ladle it into bowls and distribute the cheese over the top. Garnish each bowl with the fried sage leaves, add pepper, and serve.


Recipe reprinted by permission of Broadway Books. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Serves 4 to 6
Calories: 217
Fat. Total: 14g
Fiber: 6g
Carbohydrates, Total: 21g
Sodium: 93mg
% Cal. from Fat: 58%
Cholesterol: 13mg
Protein: 5g
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