Tomato and Butternut Squash Soup

It’s not a massively exotic one today but sometimes you need to go back and revisit the classics! Although of course, the butternut squash adds a bit of a twist. There are a number of reasons for me straying into tomato soup territory. First, I was back in Holland last week and remembered how tasty the tomato soup is there. They also tend to pop in a few cheeky little meatballs which are a fun and tasty surprise for me as a meateater (Although vegetarians and vegans visiting Holland, watch out! These little surprises often go unadvertised). I also have a lovely colleague called Ruth at work who has been looking for a good tomato soup recipe so I’ve been keeping an eye out for her. And finally, with the slightly warmer weather in London at the moment I was craving something light and nourishing.

The beauty of the addition of a butternut squash in this recipe means that you don’t need any bread to bulk out this soup and so it’s perfect for those cutting out gluten or carbs. And for the hardcore tomato soup fans, the butternut squash only provides a fairly subtle and complementary flavour to this soft and sweet soup. This is based on another recipe from Hemsley and Hemsley, this time from the book rather than their blog. According to them, cooking tomatoes increases levels of the antioxidant Lycopene which reportedly helps the skin protect us from harmful UV rays. So here’s to hoping the sun comes back out over London so I can make use of my newly gained Lycopene protection! For those of you in warmer countries, it’s probably best to stick to suntan lotion. This soup makes enough to serve 4 people, which means it’s perfect for making lots of leftovers.

Ingredients

– 1 medium sized butternut squash (around 2kg), halved

– 12 tomatoes (around 800g), halved (alternatively, you can use 2 packs of passata or 2 tins of chopped tomatoes)

– 2 onions, roughly chopped

– 4 whole cloves of garlic

– olive oil

– 2 tsp dried rosemary

– 800ml vegetable stock (I use bouillon)

– a few fresh basil leaves, to garnish (optional)

– parmesan, to garnish (optional)


How to make it…

1. First, preheat the oven to 220Β°c/gas mark 9. Place the squash and tomatoes with the flesh facing up in a baking tray along with the onions and garlic cloves. Leave to roast in the oven for around 40 – 50 minutes, using a knife to check whether the squash has softened.

2. Then, use a spoon to scoop the flesh from the squash. In a large, deep saucepan fry the rosemary in some olive oil for a few minutes before adding the squash, the tomatoes and the onions. Squeeze the roasted flesh from the garlic cloves.

3. Start by adding 500ml of vegetable stock, adding more depending on how thick you want the soup to be. Then leave to simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes.

4. Blend until smooth and serve. You may want to serve this with parmesan shavings and basil leaves, or you could drizzle it with some olive oil.

Based on a Hemsley and Hemsley recipe on p62 of ‘The Art of Eating Well’

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