2000s Recipes + Menus

Creamless Creamy Squash Soup

Serves 6 (makes about 6 cups)
  • Active time:30 min
  • Start to finish:1 hr
January 2001
Butternut squash is a wonderful base for a soup. The texture of this one is particularly beautiful and silky, because of the puréed potatoes and carrot (not a drop of cream is used). Those vegetables give the soup roundness, finesse, an extra dimension that is enriched with olive oil. Perhaps the most unusual thing about this soup (to Americans, anyway) is the garnish: crisp crumbs of amaretti, Italian almond macaroons. In Italy, amaretti are often incorporated into winter squash and pumpkin ravioli fillings to play up the sweetness of the vegetables. Here that sweet, nutty crunch puts the soup right over the top. The recipe, from Faith Heller Willinger’s cookbook Red, White, and Greens, was inspired by chef Fabio Picchi, at Cibrèo, in Florence. He prefers meat stock in the soup, but Willinger finds the flavor almost as rich with water.

Watch executive food editor Kemp M. Minifie share her method for chopping and peeling butternut squash.
  • 2 tablespoons fine-quality extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Tuscan, plus additional for drizzling
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb boiling potatoes
  • 1 lb winter squash, such as butternut, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 fresh peperoncino (small Italian hot green pepper) or 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 3 1/2 cups boiling water, plus additional for thinning
  • Garnish:

    1 crisp amaretto (Italian almond macaroon), finely crushed (2 tablespoons)
  • Heat oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over low heat. Add celery, carrot, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Stir squash, potatoes, peperoncino, and sea salt into onion mixture, then stir in 3 1/2 cups boiling water and simmer, covered, until vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove and discard peperoncino, if using. Purée soup in batches in a blender (use caution), adding more water as necessary to thin to desired consistency.
  • Serve soup drizzled with additional oil and sprinkled with amaretto crumbs.
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