Winter Squash Soup (Using either a butternut, pumpkin or blue hubbard)

Ingredients

4 pounds butternut squash, pumpkin or blue hubbard, halved lengthwise and seeded

1/2 cup butter

1 cup finely chopped onion

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup milk

Fresh Parsley for soup topping

 

Directions

1. Cook butternut or blue hubbard squash. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Add water to a large baking sheet or baking dish and place the squash cut side down. Pierce each squash half several times with a fork or skewer and bake, covered with foil, until tender, about 45 minutes - 1 hour. Allow the squash to cool slightly before handling. Using a large spoon, scrape out the cooked squash meat, discarding the peel.

2. In a large heavy stockpot, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions, bay leaves and sugar, and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft and lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Add the minced ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the butternut squash puree, chicken stock, salt and white pepper, and stir to mix. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the soup is thickened and slightly reduced, about 30 - 45 minutes. Stir in ricotta cheese and milk and cook another 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaves as you puree the soup on high speed, in batches, using either a blender or food processor. Return to the stove for another 10 minutes.

Yield: Makes 6 servings