Holy Butternut Squash! (from January 24, 2012)

As the chef, I’m normally in charge of our kitchen at home.  But since our little one is still quite little, my husband has taken over for a while.  (He’s an incredible cook!)  To save time we’ve been supplementing our CSA orders and trips to the market with deliveries from Fresh Direct.  (They deliver beer and wine,too which is not too shabby for the new dad!)  The only problem is that you can’t choose your produce.  So, we ordered a butternut squash and they sent us a 7 pound hunker!!!  Needless to say, I’ve had to come up with many ways to use it up.  I came up with a Winter Minestrone, Butternut Squash Risotto and Butternut Squash muffins.  While I had the time to cook and bake, I didn’t have much time to take any pics!  Next time, as I still have quite a bit of squash left!  It’s a great opportunity to tweak these recipes!   

Winter Minestrone – serves 6 
 (or great for leftovers)
You’ll need:
3T extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 lb butternut squash, diced in 1/4″-1/2″ cubes
1t fennel seeds, crushed
1t oregano
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup cooked kidney beans
1 handful long grain brown rice
1 28 oz whole canned tomatoes, diced
6 cups water or veg stock
Sea salt
1T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup parsley, finely cut (optional)
Fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)
To make:
1. Over medium-high, heat oil in a large soup pot and add onion and a pinch of sea salt and saute for 5 minutes.  Add carrots and celery and saute for 5 more minutes or until tender.
2. Add butternut squash and herbs and let cook together.  Add another pinch of salt and cook for about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add kidney beans and handful of rice and let cook together for another 3-5 minutes.  Add juices from tomatoes and diced tomatoes and let everything simmer for a few minutes until flavors marry each other.
4. Finally add the water (or stock, if using) and bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer.  Cook partially covered for 40minutes or until rice is tender.
5. When soup is done, add lemon juice for a quick refreshing blast.
6. Serve with parmesan and parsley as garnish.
7. Enjoy!  (Possibly with some hearty country bread!)
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