Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan and Sage
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds) 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 medium onion, chopped 2 1/2 cups homemade vegetable stock or water 1 teaspoon salt Freshly ground white pepper 1/2-3/4 cup whole milk 12 whole sage leaves 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Halve the squash and scoop out and discard the seeds and stringy pulp. Use a large knife to cut away and discard the tough skin. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch chunks. There should be about 6 cups. Set aside.
2. Heat the butter in a medium pot or soup kettle. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the squash and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes more.
3. Add the stock or water, salt and white pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes.
4. Transfer the squash mixture to a blender. Add 1/2 cup milk and puree, working in batches. Add more milk if necessary to thin the soup. Adjust the seasonings. (The soup can be refrigerated for 3 days and reheated just before serving.) If necessary, transfer the soup to the pot and reheat.
5. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and garnish each bowl with 2 whole sage leaves. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cheese over each bowl and serve immediately.
Excerpted from The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook : 350 Essential Recipes for Inspired Everyday Eating by Jack Bishop and photographed by Anne Stratton. Copyright © 1997. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.