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.

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) (43gr) – 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.

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Here’s another festive, seasonal soup: Radish-top soup and slow-roasted radish roots with fennel.

soup, winter squash, butternut squash, mint pesto
© 2011 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.


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!


Joy November 21, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I love the color on that.


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!


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!


Tiffany November 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I love the brightness of the green pesto!


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.


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 .


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.


Lori Lynn December 6, 2011 at 9:40 am

Oh those colors!
The pesto sounds fabulous!


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