Check me out, being a grown-up, cooking squash! Enjoying squash, even. It's surreal. If I ran into my 10-year-old self, I do believe she'd give me a very scathing "I don't even know who you are anymore."
Clearly, I've jumped on the fall flavors wagon. While I was researching butternut squash recipes, I found a video of Giada making a savory butternut squash risotto with vanilla. Being a practical skeptic, I found myself leery of savory vanilla. Even though I love Giada. Even though everything she makes is heavenly. Even though I have what we may call a "girl crush" on her.
Yet again, foodie curiosity got the best of me. I threw some vanilla (acting on wild impulses occasionally works in my favor) in the soup. It is. So. Good. I'm sorry I ever doubted Giada. The vanilla makes the soup fragrant, and beautifully delicious in that "I have no idea why this is so good but it is" kind of way.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP with VANILLA
1 butternut squash
1/2 large onion
1 tsp ground sage
1 tbs vanilla extract
16 oz (half a box) chicken stock
salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 400. Peel, core, and cut the squash into cubes. Dice the onion.
On a baking sheet, toss the squash with a drizzle of olive oil & a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake until soft, about 10-15 minutes.
In the meantime, heat a large pot with a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions until they are soft and start to brown, about 10 minutes.
The squash and onions should be ready about the same time. If the onions go to far, remove them from the heat for a few minutes until the squash is ready.
When the squash is cooked through, throw it into the pan with the onions. Toss together for a minute or so, then add the chicken stock. Allow to return to a boil.
When the soup is cookin' again, use an immersion blender to blend until completely smooth. (I'm assuming you could do this in a regular blender, though I didn't try.)
Add the sage, and the salt & pepper to taste. Allow the soup to reduce for a few more minutes. When it's thickened to your liking, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.