By STEVEN DESALVO
For Montclair Local

I know that I just did a summer soup a few columns ago but I felt that a warm and hearty soup is one of the most appropriately fall things there is. This elegantly spiced, creamy (although dairy free) sweet and savory soup is the ultimate fall treat. Aside from roasting the squash itself it takes so little time to prepare that you can throw it together in less than 30 minutes. The squash can even be roasted one to a few days in advance! This soup will be sure to warm your house and have everything smelling like the quintessential fall meal. I should also shout out my mother, who is the inspiration for this recipe!

Ingredients:

1 medium sized butternut squash (between 1 and 1 ½ pounds).

Cooking oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced.
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped thyme.
  • 3-4 apples (I prefer honeycrisp or fuji) peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of peeled and sliced ginger root
  • 1/3 of a cup of Marsala wine or sweet vermouth
  • 2 tablespoons of uncooked rice
  • 1 cup of coconut milk.
  • 3 cups of chicken, vegetable, or mushroom stock. Personally, I prefer to use mushroom stock for an earthier flavor.
  • Salt and pepper as needed.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Slice the butternut squash in half, remove the seeds and pulp. Season the flesh with salt and pepper and place the squash flesh side down on the parchment paper.
  3. Bake the squash for 30-45 minutes. Until I can easily be punctured by a toothpick or the tines of a fork.
  4. Remove the flesh from the skin and set it aside. At this point if you wanted to make the soup at a later date, let the squash cool and store it in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  5. In a large pot heat up cooking oil. Sauté the onion until it is translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add the thyme.
  6. Add the sliced apples and ginger, get it coated with oil and cook them for a few more minutes. Add the Marsala (or vermouth). Let the mixture cook for 2-3 minutes until the liquid has reduced.
  7. Add the rice, stir it into the mixture to coat it.
  8. Add the squash, coconut milk, and stock. Bring it to a boil
  9. Once it comes to a boil reduce the heat and let it simmer for around 30 minutes.
  10. Remove from the heat and either use an immersion blender or a standing blender to puree the soup until it is smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You will likely need to add a fair amount so don’t be afraid! Also if the soup tastes a little flat add some fresh squeeze orange juice to add some necessary acidity.

I was fortunate enough to come upon some Fall black truffles from Burgundy, France around the time I made this so I chose to garnish my soup with them. Naturally they are optional! I would suggest garnishing with some fresh extra virgin olive oil, or even serving alongside a crusty slice of toasted bread. There are very few ways to go wrong with this fall favorite! Enjoy!

In Recipe of the Month food writer Steven DeSalvo shares a recipe Montclairians might enjoy making. DeSalvo has a degree in hospitality business management from the University of Delaware and has worked extensively in restaurants and hotels. If there is something you want to know how to make, or if you’ve eaten a dish at a local restaurant that you are dying to make at home, drop us a note at culture@montclairlocal.news.