Okay, 4 if you count the garnish.
Are there certain foods you won’t order at a restaurant because you just know you can cook it better / cheaper yourself? I have a few. Pasta for sure. Unless it is freshly made-by-the-restaurant pasta, no way am I ordering something I can get a whole box of for 99 cents. Not to mention dried pasta served at a restaurant will not be the higher in fiber and protein whole grain version I keep in the pantry. (Side note: PANTRY in Brooklyn = the one big kitchen cupboard).
Another dish I won’t order in a restaurant is puréed butternut squash soup. It is just too darn easy to make. If I am ordering soup out I want it to be something complex, ethnic, time consuming, or with ingredients I never buy, like pozole, or French onion. There are some nice butternut soup recipes out there, versions that call for sweating mirepoix, using homemade stock, and roasting the squash for caramelized flavor. This is not those recipes.
This is a quick & dirty, prep in the time it takes for my kid to throw his dinner on the floor recipe. Pssst, to round this out as a meal (ie, add protein), I toss rinsed, low-sodium canned chickpeas with chili powder, cumin, and olive oil and roast at 375-degrees until crispy (about 35 minutes). I eat them on the side but my husband likes to stir them into his soup. Without further ado:
Three-Ingredient Butternut Squash Soup
1 small-ish butternut squash, double-peeled, seeded, 2x2-inch chop
2 tablespoons red curry paste (more if you are really into curry)
1 can, light coconut milk
1 handful fresh cilantro, washed & dried (optional)
1. Place the butternut and 1 cup of water in a large soup pot (bigger than you think you’ll need; the tall sides will protect from splatter when you purée). Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, tilt the lid and simmer until squash is very fork tender, about 15-20 minutes (ie bathtime).
2. Turn off heat. Drain water. Add curry paste and coconut milk; hit it with the immersion blender for a few minutes, taking care to keep the blade submerged.
3. Serve warm or at room temp, with or without aforementioned chickpeas. If you feel like it, garnish with fresh cilantro.
A cook’s note: Please don’t throw away the butternut seeds. Roast ‘em like pumpkin seeds, sprinkle with Maldon and eat as a snack or use as a soup garnish. Or at the very least, compost them. American food waste, especially the waste of fruits and vegetables, is beyond shameful, please be part of the solution.