Now for the rest of the vegetables. Isn't this celery gorgeous? Just had to admire it for a sec.
But now it's time to slice it up, like so. And then add those chunks to the pot, too. Give the butternut and celery and garlic a stir in there, as the butter is melting. You want those vegetables to be pretty coated so they won't burn.
Now for these lovely yellow onions. Slice, dice, add to the pot. I'll bet it's really simmering now. Don't be afraid to adjust the temperature if it seems like it's getting too hot, or if it's not hot enough (the butter hasn't melted completely).
And .... on to the tomatoes. Pretty! When I first had this soup I would not have guessed tomatoes were in there. The butternut flavor was just so clear. But the flavors were more complicated than that, I could tell. The tomatoes had something to do with it. So we dice those up, and add them to the pot, too.
If there's a secret ingredient in this, though, it's this cayenne pepper. 1/4 tsp. should do it if you're not so into spicy. I put 1/2 tsp. in, and the soup in its final form definitely had a kick, but not *too* much (and I'm generally not all that into spicy foods). I'd say be conservative if you're not sure; you can always add more pepper later, even after it's all blended, if it's not quite spicy enough for you. Find the full recipe below. Enjoy!
(Adapted from Dan Nystedt's recipe)
1 large butternut squash, chopped into chunks
1 large yellow onion
4 medium roma tomatoes - the riper, the better
5 celery stalks
4 large cloves of garlic
vegetable or chicken broth
1 15 oz. can cannellini (or other white) beans
1/4-1/2 tsp. ground cayenne (red) pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. butter
Fresh cilantro, minced
- Melt butter in soup pot over medium heat. When it starts to bubble, add in the rest of the vegetables. You can do this all at once, or gradually as I did, as I chopped things up along the way. If you add gradually, just make sure you give the pot a stir every so often so that the vegetables don't burn or stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the squash starts to fall apart and the other vegetables are very soft (you'll be blending these into a smooth puree in a few minutes). Stir in 3/4 of the cannellini beans, set the other 1/4 of the can aside.
- Pour in 5 cups of broth. I made a very light broth using 2 medium-sized boullion cubes and 5 cups of water. There are a lot of flavors in here so you don't need a strong broth. Let the vegetable-broth mixture come to a slow boil for about 3-5 minutes, then turn off the heat. Again, you'll want to check on how soft the vegetables are and make sure that they're soft enough to blend easily before turning off the heat.
- Add the cayenne pepper and stir everything up again.
- Let the soup cool for 10-15 minutes before you blend it. You don't want to burn yourself if any of it spatters!
- I used an immersion blender to blend the vegetables while they were still in the pot. You could also pour the vegetable-broth mixture into a regular blender.
- Once the vegetables are blended into a smooth mixture, add in the 1/4 can of cannelli beans you set aside. These give the soup some extra heartiness and texture.
I chopped up the vegetables myself here, but you could save some time by buying vegetables already prepared.
Also, I like the hearty feel you get from adding the whole beans to the pureed mixture. But, if you prefer a completely smooth texture, just blend in the whole can.