Christmas is over but the weather remains quite chilly. In chilly weather soup is required and I wanted butternut squash soup. I was thinking of an autumn bisque recipe that also uses apples, onions, sausage and is very hearty on a cold evening. First thing I did was stick a whole butternut squash in the oven to roast. This saves any peeling or cutting until it has been softened by cooking and provides a deeper, richer flavor than boiling.
Then I thought that since the oven was already on I might as well roast some heads of garlic as well. Suddenly the light bulb went on and I had an epiphany. Normally I wrap the garlic whole or I cut the top off and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, then wrap it in foil. Today my brain was kicked into over-drive. Ok, I was bored, hubby and son were at work and I was at home with no car. So I cut the tops off of 3 heads of garlic. My thinking was that even tho if roasted garlic was good, maybe it could be better. I drizzled each with a bit of olive oil, then sprinkled two with kosher salt. One of those I poked it with fresh rosemary sprigs that were snipped from the bush in our front yard. Wrapped each in foil (bending down the top of the garlic without salt so that I would be able to tell which was which) and put them in the oven to roast for a taste test.
After removing from the oven and unwrapping I noticed the salted heads were more caramelized than the unsalted one. For tasting I toasted Italian bread. I didn’t want anything that would compete with the flavors. The salt added a bit of depth to the roasted garlic. It was very good. BUT. It could not compete with the rosemary. That was amazing. I will be repeating it often. My son has already requested that I make an alfredo sauce with it.
Then I moved on to making the aforementioned soup, which didn’t go quite as planned, but it came out heavenly. Apparently hubby had taken the granny smiths to work and the Italian sausage that I thought was in the freezer was no where to be found. Not to fear, tho, necessity IS the mother of invention, after all, and I am nothing if not a mother. So here’s what I did:
I sauteed 1/2 a giant onion (I swear, this thing was HUGE, it must have been on ‘roids) with a pinch of salt and pepper. Then I tossed in 4 ounces of chopped pancetta (bacon would work, too) and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Once that was nice and cooked I squeezed in the rosemary infused roasted garlic, the flesh from the roasted butternut squash and the rest of the mashed taters from Xmas dinner (they had the same seasonings: roasted garlic and rosemary) and a quart of chicken stock and 2 cups of cream. Served it with grated parmesan and a little grated nutmeg. I should have pureed the roasted squash rather than mashing it in, tho, for a better texture, but the soup was amazingly good on a chilly evening.