Chez Panisse butternut squash soup

Our version of a simple, extremely satisfying soup first tasted at Alice Water’s Chez Panisse.

  • 4 c rich chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • stale rustic bread cut or torn into large chunks
  • sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper
  • best quality extra-virgin olive oil for croutons and drizzle

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Cut the squash in half, place about half the sage on the cut side and roast, cut side down, about an hour or until soft. Remove to a cutting board until cool enough to handle. Scoop out, then rough chop the flesh, leaving behind the seeds, skin and the blackened sage. About 15 minutes before the squash is done, toss the bread chunks with a good splash of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a cookie sheet and toast until golden brown and crunchy on the outside. Reserve.

Heat stock to just under boiling in a saucepan on the stove. Place the squash and any pan juices in the hot stock and simmer for about 15 minutes to marry flavours.

To Serve: Place ¼ of the croutons in each plate or bowl. Ladle hot soup over. Garnish with a few leaves of the fresh sage and drizzle with oil.

Serves 4-6.