The iconic Sonoma restaurant the girl & the fig graciously agreed to share some of their wonderful recipes and we are launching our Food & Entertaining section with this classic summer soup from owner Sondra Bernstein.
Butternut Squash Soup
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 large leek, white part only, cleaned and chopped
2 shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, chopped
Salt and white pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 bunch fresh sage leaves, picked, for garnish
Saba (available at specialty stores), optional for garnish
Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, leek, shallots, and garlic and saute until the vegetables are soft, about 7 minutes. Stir the vegetables occasionally to prevent browning. Add the squash to the vegetables and stir. Add 2 quarts of water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the squash is just tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the heavy cream and the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Remove the vegetables from the heat and puree immediately in a blender or food processor. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Heat a small amount of blended oil to 300 degrees F and fry the sage leaves until crispy. Transfer the sage leaves to paper towels to drain and cool.
Ladle the soup into 6 bowls and garnish each with a drizzle of the Saba and a few fried sage leaves.
Note: Saba is also known as “mosto cotto or vin cotto” and is a grape juice reduction with a syrup-like consistency that looks like balsamic vinegar. It is both slightly acidic and naturally sweet from the sugar in the grapes and adds a rich component to this soup and many other dishes.
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