Baking the butternut squash
Toasting the nuts
- Heat nuts in a dry, heavy skillet over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until they’re golden brown and they give off a rich, toasty fragrance. They can burn quickly, so watch them closely.
- Stir or toss nuts or seeds frequently for even toasting.
- Remove from pan to cool.
- Store any extra toasted nuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks or freeze them in an airtight freezer container for 1 to 3 months.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, celery and half of the sage and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the stock and squash pulp, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes to combine the flavors. Remove from the heat.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor.
Return to a clean saucepan. Alternatively, pass the soup through a food mill placed over the pan. Reheat gently over medium-low heat.
Season with salt and pepper (and cream, if using). If the squash is starchy rather than sweet, a little nutmeg will help. If the nutmeg does not give the proper flavor balance, add a pinch of sugar.
- 2 large butternut squash, each 1 1/2 to 2 lb.
- 1/3 cup hazelnuts, optional (I used mixed nuts because that is what I had on hand)
- 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 yellow onions, chopped (I used the red onions because that is what I had)
- 3 celery ribs, chopped
- 8 fresh sage leaves, shredded
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock or canned broth
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste (I used 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 tsp pepper)
- Ground nutmeg, to taste, (I think the nutmeg is important and added about 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground)
- Pinch of sugar, if needed (I added 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar)
- 1 cup cream or half & half or more to thin to desired consistency (I used fat free half & half)
- Served with a dollop a Greek yogurt or sour cream
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