It’s been kind of a crazy week so far. We’re going to Italy next week! Yay! It was decided with very short notice and we’ll be gone for about 2 weeks so we’ve had quite a lot to do these last few days. Clearly I’d like to focus on Italy while being there and not so much on my studies so I’ve been doing all the reading and assignments to cover for the time we’ll be over there. Left to do is to write an essay for my Italian course before leaving on Tuesday. I’m planning to start this afternoon and I hope (and trust) that I’ll pull it off and hand it in before going. I’ll be writing about food (surprise!), more precisely about the growing plant-based community in Italy and how it is portrayed in the Italian media. It should be interesting, I just need to watch my grammar…
While I’ve been focusing on school, Kuteer has been cleaning the house. A deep cleaning was well over due after a busy summer season, especially the kitchen and he’s done such an amazing job with going through everything, cleaning and organizing that it feel like a whole new place! Don’t you just love the feeling when the house is clean? Growing up in an extremely messy home it has surely been a journey for me to arrive at this point of appreciation.
Besides studying and cleaning we’ve also done some work for the blog and come up with some great new recipes to share with you all.
First out is this amazing soup combining two of our absolute favorite ingredients this fall – roasted butternut squash and chestnuts. If you love a warm and comforting meal this recipe is definitely for you! It is very simple to make with only a few ingredients and the result is really worth the hassle with peeling the roasted chestnuts.
Cream of Roasted Butternut Squash and Chestnuts
3.3 pounds / 1.5 kg butternut squash
14 oz. / 400 g chestnuts
4 garlic cloves
4 rosemary sprigs
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, cut in small cubes
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
5 cups / 1.2 l vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak chestnuts in water for two hours. Drain and make a shallow incision across one side of the nut using a sharp paring knife. The goal is to cut through the shell and the fuzzy papery layer avoiding to cut the flesh. (Do not skip this step, it will allow steam to escape, otherwise the chestnuts can explode in the oven!) Bake at 480°F / 250°C for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the chestnuts in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth for 20 minutes before peeling them. Allowing them to steam a bit will make them easier to peel.
Sauté onion in olive oil, add vinegar and the bay leaf and let them caramelize in very low flame. Set aside and remove the bay leaf.
Peel and cut the butternut squash in big chunks removing the seeds. Mix the chunks in a bowl with olive oil, unpeeled garlic cloves, rosemary sprigs and salt & pepper. Spread in a baking tray and bake at 350°F / 180°C for 30-40 minutes or until tender.
Place the roasted butternut squash in a high-speed blender together with ¾ of the peeled chestnuts. Add 1 or 2 squeezed baked garlic cloves, caramelized onion and vegetable broth. Blend until you have a smooth, thick cream.
Slice the remaining chestnuts.
Serve the cream in bowls topped with sliced chestnuts. Garnish with freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
NOTE: Cold pressed olive oil from Tuscany has spicy notes that enhances the sweetness of pumpkin and chestnut.