Winter squash soup with citrus-mint pesto

November 21, 2011

Winter squash soup with citrus-mint pesto

With their brilliant orange-colored flesh, winter squashes are the kings of winter vegetables. Whether roasted, pan-sautéed, cooked in soups or stews, or puréed, they’re delicately flavorful and imbue a lovely sweetness.

Today’s recipe starts with a white wine reduction, which enhances that wonderful natural sweetness but also brings a bit of tang to the soup.

Topped with a swirl of the citrus-mint pesto, this soup has bright flavors and a silky-smooth texture, and is also gorgeous to look at – an enticing addition to your holiday table or Thanksgiving feast.

White wine iconA full-bodied, aromatic white wine is a must with this soup. Try a Viognier from southern France or from California. Although Viognier is now grown in different parts of the world (Austria, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Australia), these two regions still offer the best expression of the variety.

Winter squash soup

Winter squash soup with citrus-mint pesto

serves 6 to 8
active time: 30 min

For the soup

  1. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1 medium Vidalia or Spanish onion – peeled, quartered and cut crosswise in 1/8″ slices
  3. 2 garlic cloves – skinned and finely chopped
  4. 1 cup dry white wine
  5. 3 lbs (1.4 kg) winter squash (1 medium butternut squash, kabocha, sugar pumpkin…) – peeled (use vegetable hand-peeler), seeded and cut in 1″ chunks
  6. 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  7. 3 to 3 1/2 cups spring water
  8. 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
  9. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  10. 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

For the citrus-mint pesto

  1. 1 small bunch Italian parsley (1 1/2 oz) (45 g) – tough stems removed
  2. 8 sprigs fresh mint – leaves removed from stems
  3. 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds – coarsely ground with mortar and pestle
  4. 1/4 teaspoon orange zest (use microplane grater)
  5. 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  6. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  7. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  8. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  1. Step 1: Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and onions and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes until golden, stirring from time to time. Add the garlic and wine. Stir well and continue to sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until the wine has evaporated and glazed the onions. Add the squash chunks, stock, 3 cups of water, salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil and then simmer covered for 30 to 35 minutes, until the squash is very tender.
  2. Step 2: Add the orange juice and purée the soup with a stick blender or food processor, until silky-smooth. Thin the soup with water to the desired consistency. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Step 3: While the soup is simmering, make the pesto. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until very smooth, for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Step 4: Ladle the soup into soup bowls. Place a spoonful of the pesto in the center of each bowl and serve immediately.
  5. Cook’s note: The soup can be made up to 3 days ahead and re-heated just before serving. It may need to be thinned with additional spring water, as the squash will absorb the liquids as it stands. Freezes well up to 1 month.

soup, winter squash, butternut squash, mint pesto
© 2014 Viviane Bauquet Farre Food & Style NY LLC

Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Kiri W. November 21, 2011 at 11:07 am

Wow, I love the twist of the pesto addition! very creative way to spice up the soup and add even more wonderful color to the dish.

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Sortachef November 21, 2011 at 11:37 am

Mmm. We love squash soup and the lattitude for pairings its flavor allows. Sour cream. Wild mushrooms. Balsamic vinegar. Ginger.
Your wonderful pesto gives it a new dimension… Thanks. And Happy Thanksgiving too!

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Joy November 21, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I love the color on that.

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Cucina49 November 21, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I adore pesto and I like the idea of yours with the citrus–I will try this!

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Kris November 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Cannot wait to try this! I love squash soup and have been busy making lots of broth-based soups. This sounds terrific!

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Tiffany November 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I love the brightness of the green pesto!

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Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi) November 22, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Wow! This is so bright. It’s the perfect wintery soup to eat when you are colllld and in need of a pick me up. The colors and flavors would make anyone happy.

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kristin November 27, 2011 at 9:50 pm

We served your squash soup with mint/parsley pesto as our first course with a traditional Turkey Thanksgiving dinner . The soup was the hit of the meal ! Eleven of our family wanted to know how to make it. Our Son only had the soup for dinner .

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Melissa Bender November 29, 2011 at 10:42 pm

This looks amazing! I am going to try this when my family comes in for Christmas.

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Lori Lynn December 6, 2011 at 9:40 am

Oh those colors!
The pesto sounds fabulous!
LL

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