This weekend I had a huge butternut squash sitting on my counter complaining that it was going to waste. It had been given to me by a good friend who plucked it straight from her garden as I looked on. When she’d asked if I’d like it, I was too embarrassed to fess up and tell her I had no clue what to do with it. But c’mon! Someone gives you a gift of love from their garden, something they planted and nurtured with their own hands? How cool is that. So I took it.

She mentioned that her husband loved her roasted butternut squash soup so there was my clue. Soup!

Um, okay. I must have found two dozen recipes via Google. And all of them required that I roast the squash first. Well, one of them wanted me to roast half of the squash and use half of it raw. I don’t think so. In my kitchen it’s all or nothing. So I decided to roast it.

How To Peel, Cut, and Roast Butternut Squash For Soup or a Side Dish

I used Ina’s method for roasting butternut squash. You know, the Barefoot Contessa? Love her! So down to earth. She even has a little video to show you how. Turns out there’s an easier way to roast butternut squash if all you want it for is soup, but I’ll tell you what I did first then I’ll tell you the easier way.

Well, Ina didn’t tell me exactly how to peel and cut my butternut squash. For that I went to Simply Recipes.  Basically, you want to cut the bottom and top off the butternut squash so it sits flat and stable while you peel it. I recommend you get a serrated vegetable peeler. I used a cheap carrot peeler and my knuckles suffered as a result.

After you peel the squash, cut it in half. Be sure to use a good, heavy duty chef’s knife.

Scoop out the seeds—a soup spoon will do. Then cut the squash into chunks.

Toss the chunks with olive oil, kosher salt, and crushed black pepper.

I roasted the chunks on a foil-lined cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Ina recommends you turn the chunks half way through with a metal spatula. I’m sure that’s a good idea; but if you forget, like I did, no big deal. I will say, the roasted squash chunks are yummy as is. They would make a great side dish, especially paired with asparagus. But my goal was soup.

How to Roast Butternut Squash the Easy Way for Soup

Here is what I didn’t do, but will do next time. Sooo much easier if your goal is soup. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds.  Lay the halves, open side up, on a foil lined cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil; salt and pepper liberally. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

When done, let the squash cool until you can handle it comfortably. Now scoop the meat of the squash from the skin and plop it into a bowl. How easy it that? Why didn’t I didn’t do that to begin with? What can I say? I’m a slow learner–truly clueless in the kitchen. But the upside is that now I know how to make yummy chunked squash as a side dish.

How to Make Butternut Squash Soup

Now that the squash has been roasted, using whichever method you prefer, it’s time to make the soup.

Here are the ingredients:

1 Butternut Squash, roasted (using your preferred method)
1 Granny Smith apple (for its tartness)
1/2 yellow onion (use a full onion if you’re adventurous)
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tsp Ground Sage (or 7 Sage Leaves if you know what those are)
1 Garlic Cloves, minced (if you know how to mince garlic) or 1/8 Tsp Garlic Power (if you’re like me, and that’s all you have in your kitchen)
3 cups Vegetable Broth
2 cups Water
1/3 cup of Half & Half
Salt & Pepper to taste

Okay, so here’s how to do it:

Start by peeling the Granny Smith apple, coring it, and cutting it into small chunks.

Dice the onion.

In a dutch oven pot, sautee the apple and onion in the butter. Add the sage and garlic. Sautee this mixture for about 7 minutes or until soft. Don’t let the onions get brown.

Add the roasted butternut squash to the sautéed apples and onions. Pour in the vegetable broth and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer it for about 15 minutes.

Now add the half and half to the squash soup to make it creamy.

At this point you will want to puree the chunky soup to make it more soup-like. You can do this in a blender or a food processor. Once pureed, pour the soup back into the pan to keep it warm on low heat. Feel free to add extra salt and pepper to taste. (Note: I didn’t put salt and pepper into the soup mixture because I had added those ingredients liberally to the squash when I roasted it. Also, I tend to go light on salt; you might choose to add more.) You can also vary the amounts of the liquids (vegetable stock and/or half & half) depending on how thick & creamy or how soupy you like the end product to be.

Serve the soup in individual bowls and sprinkle nutmeg over it.

I served the soup to my guests along with a good, crusty, multi-grain bakery bread on the side. It turned out to be a hit.

Give it a try!  If I can do it, you can do it.  And good luck!

p.s. If you experiment and add something that makes your butternut squash soup zing, let us know!