Carnival Squash Soup by cucinagirl

Serves 6 as a starter.

The following recipe will work with any winter squash.  I like carnival squash not only for it’s sweet, nutty flavor, but also because it make a great table decoration before it’s used for cooking.

2 medium carnival squash 

olive oil 
1/2 medium onion, diced 
4-8 cups vegetable stock (store bought or homemade, see below*)

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Halve the squash.  (Not an easy task.  I initially went with
 the Cook’s Illustrated recommendations to used a large chef’s knife or a metal bench scraper and a hammer.  Neither method worked well for me, so I ended up sawing through the squash with a serrated bread knife.)

Clean out the seeds and fibers and reserve for vegetable broth.  
Place squash halves on sheet pan or baking dish and drizzle with olive oil (not extra virgin).  Roast in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until flesh is tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.  Set aside to cool. 

Meanwhile heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil a medium saucepan.  Sauté onions in oil until translucent, stirring frequently. 

When squash is cool enough to handle, remove skin and roughly chop squash.  Add squash to saucepan.   Add 4 cups vegetable stock and allow to simmer for several minutes.  

Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a traditional blender or food processor.  Add more vegetable broth until desired consistency is reached.  Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

At this point, you can add cream to the soup, but I find it is just as delicious (and a little healthier) without the cream! Garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, fried sage, or freshly cracked black pepper.

*You can improvise a vegetable stock with things you have on hand. While the squash is roasting, fill a stockpot with onion scraps, a few stalks of celery (including leaves), parsley, reserved squash seeds and fibers.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for at least an hour.  Season with salt.