Friday, November 23, 2007

Passata di Zucca / Creamy Winter Squash Soup

Below is the recipe from my blast. Now animated.

This recipe will likely take a total of 3-4 hours, so give yourself time and maybe turn off your cell phone ;). If loved ones are in proximity, their noses will guide them to you. The process is paired beautifully with some Jazz (if in NY support 89.3 WBGO). A list of needed utensils and ingredients is below. I decided to write this as if we were chilling. Its not formal and asks that you trust your instincts. Let's dance...

Dice the hard flesh of a selection of Winter Squashes : Pumpkin, Acorn, Butternut etc (remember there are many varieties so have fun). First remove the hard skin, seeds and gooey interior. Give yourself a good hour when no one is looking. It will take time and strength but I promise folks are gonna kiss you for putting in the work.

Saute the squash with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (always) on a medium heat. The idea here is to release all the good stuff. Pay attention and continue to stir. Use your nose to guide you. You should begin to smell the perfume of your central ingredient. This is what will inform your soup, so be patient and let them cook for a while. My guess is 20 minutes, but follow your instincts. Add stock to the pot, 2.5 times the amount of Zucca (likely a gallon). In the past I have used a homeade chicken stock which gives the dish an extra buttery richness. If you see this as a pain in the ass, buy a chicken stock that you trust (I like the ones sold in cartons). If Vegetarian or simply a preference, use Vegetable Stock. Reserve some stock if possible to later balance out your desired consistency. Bring it all to a boil and walk away.

Once the smell fills up your house (35 minutes), take it off the heat. In batches blend your hearty mixture using a traditional or hand blender. Here's where it gets time consuming again. Strain each batch in a cheese cloth, removing any left over flesh from the Squash. You should be left with a silky thin soup base. Once finished return to the pot. You should have less left than you thought possible. This means you have extracted the good sh*t. Good job ;)

Simmer the soup while guests arrive. Salt and (white pepper) to taste. Go easy. 10 minutes before serving add a desired amount of heavy cream. Don't get too happy, the goal is to simply smooth out the flavors not invoke heart attacks.

The fun part. Choose between these two garnishes! The first, a drizzleof Walnut Oil, shaved Sharp White Cheddar and a dust of fresh Nutmeg. The other option a drizzle of a really good Olive Oil (crudo) with a dust of Cinnamon & Sugar! Both are perfection.

Central ingredients :

A selection of Winter Squashes
Chicken or Vegetable Stock
Olive Oil Heavy Cream
White Pepper
Garnish(es) :

Sharp White Cheddar
Fresh Nutmeg
Walnut Oil
Cinnamon & Sugar
A robust Olive Oil (crudo)
Utensils :

Large Stock pot
Sturdy knife
Cheese cloth

If you got this far, send me an email with pics and comments. Would love to post em as a follow up entry!


Suri said...

beautiful post.
nice to see you cooking again*

glantern88 said...

i'll have to try this one out... looks amazing.

keep the recipes coming!

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