Since Nick has such a crazy schedule it makes the most sense to try and eat at home. I love to cook, and this house has a nicely equipped (albeit tiny) kitchen, so I’ve been really excited.
The challenge is the ingredients – we tend to eat a lot of protein, most of which I buy when it is on an amazing sale so I can stock up. Here in Ortigia, all animal meats (except for seafood) are incredibly expensive. Now, I can cook up some mean fish, but for some reason I am very squeamish about the fish market. I guess I just need it to be food-shaped and wrapped in plastic before it comes into my kitchen.
So I put out a call for some vegetarian recipes, and received some great suggestions (and I’m always looking for more)! My lovely friend Brooke sent this recipe for Butternut Squash Soup:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, cubed
- 1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cubed
- 1 (32 fluid ounce) container chicken stock (or salted water)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, and squash 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.
Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Now, besides the fact that I can’t follow a recipe to save my life, the mercado didn’t have squash. They did have pumpkin, however, so this is what I ended up doing:
Everything was tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil (because that’s what I currently have – I would have preferred oregano and coriander, but I haven’t found those yet), then put in a roasting pan.
I wish I could tell you what temperature I roasted these at, but the oven shows centigrade, and it seems to cook really hot regardless. Maybe 375ish? I roasted them for about 45 minutes, stirring every so often.
I then added the wine to the vegetables, and covered them with chicken stock (it was indeed one cartons worth).
I let everything simmer for a few hours, wished I had some nutmeg, and then started digging through the kitchen for a blending implement (I know, this should have been step 1).
I ended up finding one of those stick mixers in a back cabinet (like you would use for a smoothie, I guess). It worked great, but didn’t get all the little chunks of onion pureed, so I also pushed everything through a sieve.
Nick loved it, and he has a pretty strong dislike of “new”, so I guess that’s a good recommendation! Try it out, and let me know what changes you make (I really do wish I’d had nutmeg)!