Friday, January 27, 2012

Butternut Squash and Spinach Minestrone

My mother hates fall squash.

Therefore, we never ate it when I was growing up. My grandmother has always made butternut squash once a year on Thanksgiving and it looked like baby food so I refused to try it. Plus, why eat that when I could eat more carbs? I've mentioned my obsession with carbs before, right? And sugar, and peanut butter, and cheese, and anything with lots of calories? Yep.

Because of my love of food and blogging, this year, I decided to try it...

WHY DID IT TAKE ME SO LONG?!?! I fell in love. Sweet. Savory. Nutty. Cinnamon-y. Heaven. Lesson learned: Try anything and everything regardless of what it looks like or what people say about it. The worst that can happen is that you don't like. But if you never try it, you could be missing out on something wonderful and a ton of awesome recipes! I don't know how I survived a fall/winter without it.  Never again. So I decided to give this recipe for a squash based soup a try.

This soup was delicious. It does involve a lot of chopping. In fact, I got a blister on my thumb. But that's probably because I was using a super small and crappy knife to cut a large butternut squash. Not smart. Once you get past chopping all of the veggies, the soup is so simple to put together. You basically just dump it all together in crockpot and turn it on.

The pasta is totally optional. I used squash pasta because I love the color, the extra serving of veggies, the cute tiny shape, and that it compliments the "I-am-the-newest-squash-fanatic" theme. I cooked it separately and just added it to my bowl of soup. The next couple times I ate it, I left the pasta out for a lighter meal. For me, the beans make the soup hearty enough and I'd rather eat my carbs with a crusty piece of bread for dipping!

This soup freezes pretty well. The only issue is that the squash chunks don't hold up well. I was sort of disappointed at first. But then I gave it a quick stir and the squash completely disintegrated and created a creamy broth! I think it was a totally pleasant mistake. Love when that happens :)

Butternut Squash and Spinach Minestrone
  • 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf, dried
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small pieces
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch of bag of spinach
  • 1 cup small pasta, cooked (optional)
  • parmesan cheese, for topping
1. Combine all ingredients except spinach and pasta in the bowl of a crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
2. Twenty minutes before eating, add the spinach to the crockpot and cover again. Just before serving, remove bay leaf.
3. Ladle soup into bowls. Add pasta, if desired. Top with parmesan cheese.

Try the pasta! I'm sure you'll love it. It also comes in a spinach and a tomato variety.

How fresh and fabulous does that look?

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