recipe // butternut squash soup with pumpkin seed-mint pesto

This is a great fall recipe from Sunset. They suggest serving it in mini pumpkins, and using fresh pumpkin instead of squash, but I was not feeling that ambitious for a post-work meal. Instead, I used the pre-cut butternut squash from Trader Joe’s (2 bags of it, to be exact), an immersion blender to puree the soup, and a food processor to make the pesto, and in under an hour was serving it up in perfectly acceptable ceramic bowls with a side of olive bread. The only thing I think I might change for next time is to use unshelled pumpkin seeds in the pesto. I’m guessing that was what was originally intended by the person who created the recipe, I just grabbed the first salted pumpkin seeds I saw and didn’t really think about it until I got home. Using the shelled version wasn’t bad, the pesto was just a little chewier than I think it should have been.

Butternut Squash Soup with Pumpkin Seed-Mint Pesto
from Sunset | serves 4-5

SOUP
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
4 1/2 cups peeled, 1-in. chunks butternut squash (from a 2 1/2-lb. squash)
4 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

PESTO
1 small garlic clove
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, plus slivered leaves
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup salted roasted pumpkin seeds

Sauté onion and ginger in oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat until golden, 5 minutes. Add garlic and coriander and cook until softened, 1 minute, then add pumpkin, broth, salt, and pepper. Simmer, covered, until pumpkin is very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Purée in batches in a blender until very smooth. To make the pesto, put garlic, whole mint leaves, salt, and 1 tbsp. oil in a food processor and pulse until it makes a course paste. Add remaining oil and pumpkin seeds and run the food processor until the seeds are coarsely crushed. To serve, drop small spoonfuls of pesto over bowls of soup, garnish with slivered mint, and serve remaining pesto on the side.

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