As I’m typing, the weather outside is already frightful, with up to three inches of snow forecasted for this morning followed by an afternoon of sleet. So, since we’ve all got no place to go (winter advisory aside) it’s the perfect time to simmer a pot of soup on the stove. This recipe merges two classic favorites: Butternut Squash and Zuppa Toscana. The sweet roasted squash smooths out the spicy edges of the sausage and the natural combination left me wondering why I never added squash to this soup before. It’s simply delicious! This is the perfect bowl of lightweight comfort that’ll chase the chill of a snowy day away! It’s even easy enough to whip up for lunch, especially if you roast the butternut squash ahead of time, but, since it’s freezing cold out right now, you might as well crank up the oven and let the warm, sweet aromas of butternut squash bring a bit of summer warmth back inside your home.
1 sm butternut squash
3 cups kale, stems removed and discarded, leaves rough chopped
1 lg red potato, diced
1 lb spicy Italian sausage
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp herbs de Provence
6 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Drizzle of olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a clean, no slip work surface slice the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out all the seeds and membranes and discard. Place the halved squash on a sheet pan or in a casserole dish. Lightly drizzle with olive oil then salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast until the squash is very tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Once tender, remove the squash from the oven and set aside to cool. This step can be done one to two days in advance, and if so, then store the roasted squash in the fridge until ready to use.
In a large Dutch Oven over med high flame, sauté the sausage with the herbs de Provence until browned and slightly crisp, breaking up larger pieces as the sausage cooks, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the browned sausage from the Dutch Oven with a slotted spoon and rest on paper towels until ready to use. In the same pot, add the chicken stock and bring up to a soft boil.
Meanwhile, spoon out the roasted butternut squash and discard the outer layer of skin. Add the squash, smoked paprika, and turmeric powder to the chicken stock and, with an Immersion Blender, carefully puree until the butternut squash is very smooth. Add to the butternut broth the diced potatoes, kale, and cooked sausage. Reduce the flame to low and simmer the soup at least 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender or until the soup has reduced to your preference. Taste the soup and adjust seasonings as desired. Ladle into soup bowls and serve immediately.
Note: If you prefer a thicker soup and don’t have time to reduce it by simmering, then stir into the soup 1/4 cup instant potatoes at a time until it has thickened to your liking.