Butternut Squash Soup with Sage + Orzo

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It's getting chilly out there, and Butternut Squash Soup is one of my absolute favorites this time of year. This version is an ode to my mom and the way that I had it growing up. 

I distinctly remember turning my nose up at soup like this when I was young. The first time she made split pea I just said "no, I'm not eating that" and was met with the reply of "you at least have to try it." Three bowls later, I decided split pea soup wasn't half bad. I guess it was a visual dislike at first. A pureed soup isn't always the most pleasing to see, especially when it's bright green, or orange in this case.

When she made butternut squash soup for the first time I was in heaven. It had orzo, naturally. In a Mediterranean household orzo snuck into lots of soups and stews. Squash soup feels sort of naked without it to me, and when I had it someplace new for the first it seemed like an element was missing. 

I wanted to keep the soup as close to home as I remembered, while tweaking that original texture just a bit. Roasting chunks of squash for topping gave the soup an extra layer of flavor and added just enough crunch to balance out the puree. This one is perfect to make as we ease into the chilly weather, and squash is abundant at the market.   

This is the last soup recipe for the month of September for the Bldg 25 blog, next month will be all about gourds!

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage + Orzo
serves 4-6

2 medium butternut squash (about 3 lbs)
1 large onion, diced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tbs vegan butter
2 tbs olive oil
2 tsp ground coriander, divided
1 tsp white pepper
2 tbs fresh sage, chopped, plus additional for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups orzo, cooked

Preheat oven to 425°. Peel and halve both squash, scooping out the centers. Coarsely chop three halves of squash and set aside for the soup. Dice the remaining half, into large pieces for roasting (approximately 3/4'' squares). Toss the cut pieces with 2 tbs olive oil, 1 tsp coriander, and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Roast the squash on two baking sheets for 30 minutes, flipping the pieces, and rotating the pan halfway through. When squash is done roasting, set aside for serving on top of the soup.

In a large dutch oven, heat 1 tbs vegan butter over medium heat. Cook the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the coarsely chopped squash, vegetable stock, 1 tsp coriander, sage, white pepper and generous shakes of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove soup from heat and either using a stick blender or working in small batches in a convention blender, puree until smooth. Depending on the size of your squash, your puree may be very thick. If this is the case, thin soup with water, adding one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

To serve, place 1/2 cup of cooked orzo in bowl and top with roasted squash. Pour the squash soup around the orzo and garnish with fresh sage and freshly cracked pepper.

download the pr
intable recipe here