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Butternut squash soup is a classic, but this recipe for butternut squash soup with walnut pesto kicks things up an extra notch. The walnut pesto adds layers of flavor from herbs, funkiness from cheese, and crunch from the nuts -- so the one-dimensional, everybody-makes-it standby is now a lot more interesting.
Butternut Squash Soup with Walnut Pesto
(Makes 4 servings)
For the soup
6 pounds butternut squash, halved lengthwise
1 quart water
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
For the pesto
1⁄4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
2 tablespoons grated pecorino cheese
1 tablespoon walnut oil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped sage
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the squash (with seeds) cut side down in a roasting pan and fill with the water. Roast until the skin is completely blistered and the squash is forktender, about 45 minutes. Let cool.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the walnuts, cheese, walnut oil, parsley, sage, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
3. Scoop the flesh and seeds from the squash and transfer them to a large bowl. Add the maple syrup, honey, butter, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and pepper.
4. Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender until smooth. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with the pesto.