Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

For the soup:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup (1/4-inch) diced onion

1/4 cup (1/4-inch) diced celery

1/4 cup (1/4-inch) diced carrot

1/4 cup (1/4-inch) diced leek

1/2 Granny Smith apple peeled, cored and (1/4-inch) diced

1 cinnamon stick

Sea salt & ground black pepper

About 4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon ground, toasted nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1 1/2 cups Roasted Winter Squash

To serve:

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, optional

2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds, optional

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and cinnamon stick and sauté until soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper. Add the chicken stock and the nutmeg and the ginger, and bring to a boil. Simmer for several minutes. Stir in the squash until smooth, then simmer gently to let the flavors meld, about 10 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.

Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. (The soup can be made ahead to this point, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for several days or frozen for about 1 month. It will thicken as it cools and may need thinning with stock or water when reheating.)

Return the soup to the pan and reheat gently. Add the heavy cream. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep warm until service.

To serve: Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Garnish evenly, with the cheese and pumpkin seeds, if desired. Other garnishes that also complement this soup would be fried sage or crushed amoretti cookies.

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