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Creamy roasted butternut squash soup with Parmesan, red chili and a touch of warm spice is the best fall comfort food in a bowl, with an Italian-style twist. Serve with toasted sourdough bread and more cheese on top.
I can’t think of a dish that warms me up inside and out the way roasted butternut squash soup does.
It’s rich and satisfying, and practically begs to be made and enjoyed in the fall and winter, which just happens to be the time these nutty-tasting winter squash recipes are at their best.
As usual, I gave this soup recipe my usual Italian-inspired flair with some favorite flavor enhancers — Parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper and Italian parsley.
These seasonings remind me of the inside of a pumpkin ravioli, in the best way!
While testing out the recipe, I thought butternut squash soup with apple sounded really appealing. It works!
A small peeled, chopped apple enhances the natural sweetness of the butternut squash and you don’t even know it’s there.
That means there’s no need to add any other sugar like honey, maple syrup or brown sugar.
Butternut squash soup without dairy
If you’re looking for a vegan butternut squash soup without cream or butter, check out my vegan recipe for Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger!
While I’m not a huge fan of overly creamy soups, I still wanted to add a bit of luxury to this otherwise basic recipe.
Heavy cream (1 cup total) absolutely makes the texture of the soup out-of-this-world luscious and velvety. Amazingly, you don’t need that much cream to really level up the elegance factor.
For even more seductive flavor, I heated the cream with smashed garlic cloves and a cinnamon stick, and then let it steep for a few minutes.
That simple infusion gives the soup a subtle hint of spice and savory garlic when you taste a spoonful, without hitting you over the head.
It just tastes lovely and balanced, without overpowering the delicious flavor of butternut squash.
The easiest way to roast butternut squash
Butternut squash makes one of the best-tasting soups ever. But that usually means you have to deal with a whole squash, because all the peeling and cutting can feel like a chore.
Halving the squash and roasting it in the oven is an easy way to cook it.
- While the squash bakes cut-side down on the baking sheet, it steams and roasts at the same time, resulting in soft squash along with irresistible caramelized edges.
- At that point it’s simple to just scoop out the soft flesh with a big spoon and add it to your soup pot for a quick simmer with the rest of the ingredients.
How to cut a butternut squash
- Put the squash on a cutting board and grab your sharpest chef knife.
- Lay it sideways and slice off the stem. Cut a thin piece off the end of the squash so it can sit flat on its bottom.
- Stand the squash upright and center the knife over the top. Slice downward, see-sawing the knife as you push down, until the squash is cut into two pieces.
- Use a spoon to scrape out the strings and seeds.
Make butternut squash soup in advance:
This is a pretty hands-off recipe once the squash is roasted.
You can even roast the squash days in advance. Scoop out the flesh and store in a container or ziptop bag.
When you’re ready to eat, heat the cream, simmer the soup with the squash and puree – it takes about 20 minutes total.
The finished butternut squash soup will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and in the freezer for 1 month.
More winter squash recipes to try:
- Roasted Delicata Squash Pasta with Greens
- Butternut Squash Salad with Harissa and Feta
- Pumpkin Pasta in Garlic Cream Sauce
- White Bean Turkey Pumpkin Chili
Italian-Style Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 3-pound (6 kg) butternut squash
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons (15 ml) butter or olive oil
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts sliced in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
- ½ cup (80 g) chopped onion
- 1 small (100 g) apple, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 3 ½ cups (830 ml) low sodium vegetable stock or water
- ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
- Crushed red chili flakes, optional
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- To roast the butternut squash:
- Preheat oven to 400 (200C) degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a large spoon. Drizzle the inside of the squash with olive oil and season with salt to taste. Place cut-side down on the baking sheet and put in the oven. Bake until the squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 30-35 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
Make the soup
- Put the cream, garlic and cinnamon stick in a small sauce pan and bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow the flavors to steep 15 minutes. Pour the cream through a small mesh strainer into the soup pot (or just fish out the garlic cloves and cinnamon stick with a spoon). Set aside.
- Heat the butter or olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion and apple to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the they're softened, 5-7 minutes.
- Scrape the flesh from the butternut squash halves and add to the pot. Stir in the stock or water and 1 teaspoon salt. Simmer 15 minutes. Puree the soup directly in the pot using an immersion blender until very smooth (or blend in batches in a blender). Stir the infused cream into the soup and heat gently until warmed through.
- Serve the soup in bowls, sprinkled with some parsley, chili and Parmesan cheese.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- The soup can be refrigerated up to 5 days and frozen up to 1 month.
- If you use a blender to puree the soup, be careful to only fill the blender jar about halfway. Hot soup expands quickly under pressure, making a mess if it explodes out of the lid.
- I always recommend that every kitchen have at least two heavy-duty rimmed sheet pans.Good quality pans won’t warp in the oven, and you will use them constantly.
- If you happen to have a high-speed blender, you’ll love how super-smooth and creamy this soup will turn out. But next to that, an immersion stick blender like this one does the trick almost as well and it’s what I use most of the time.
- If you’d rather skip the cream this soup will still be fantastic. Instead, leave it out and add 1 chopped garlic clove and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the onion-leek mixture in step 3.
- To use cubed squash instead of roasting a whole one, start with 4 cups peeled and cut squash. Use 4 cups of stock in step 5 and simmer 30 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender. Proceed with the blending to puree.