Barefoot Contessa? Not quite, but I’m getting there.

Cooking has become my new drug.

I’ve found myself living a post-grad life where I work 20+ hours per week unpaid, live under my parents roof, and have so few friends still in town that I can count them all on less than 2 hands.  Cooking, on the other hand, is something I can control.  It’s something that allows me to be creative, as well as contribute to the household.

Okay, my life isn’t that bad, I’m actually a pretty spoiled when you think about it.  My parents pay my bills, and I have two great internships, and what am I complaining about- I have almost 800 Facebook friends. (because those are the friends that really matter, right? :-/)

That doesn’t change the fact that I’ve become awesome at cooking.  I’ve come a long way from my senior year of college, where my staples were either pasta or various sautéed vegetables over Rice-A-Roni.  Last night, I decided to test my cooking awesomeness theory by making my own recipe.  Not by combining several others, not by just changing one ingredient in a Giada At Home recipe!  I went for it without guidelines and jotted down notes as I went, à la Barefoot Contessa.  And it worked!  So here I present to you, my recipe for Acorn Squash Soup.

Ingredients
(Note: I used 1 Acorn Squash to make a hearty amount of soup for two people. Adjust accordingly…i.e. add more broth if you add more squash.)
1 Acorn Squash
2-3 tbsp olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves
1/2 white onion, diced
Cumin, paprika, chili powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1- 14 oz can of vegetable broth (or chicken broth, whichever you prefer)
1/2 cup heavy cream or milk
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley

I wasn’t really sure what to do with the Acorn Squash we had in our veggie basket.  I had never eaten it before, and once I carved it open and started scooping out the seeds and innards, I realized how pumpkin-y it was (I am not a big fan of pumpkin).

To my relief, the finished product did not taste very pumpkin-y at all, probably due to all the yummy spices.

So, the first step (as you can see) is to halve the squash, then scoop out the seeds.  Also, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In the meantime, drizzle some olive oil on top, sprinkle the spices + salt & pepper, and add garlic cloves to each half.  I love garlic, so you’ll probably notice that I added a lot to my soup…how much garlic you want to add is up to you!

Put the halves in the pre-heated oven and roast for about 40 minutes.  If you decide to make more than I did, you might need to keep it in longer.  The goal is for the squash to get soft, and easy to take out of its skin.

While the squash roasts, start building the base of the soup.  Use some olive oil to sauté diced onions and chopped garlic (again, I just love garlic) until translucent.  I might also use this opportunity to season them a bit with more of the spices and salt & pepper, but it’s not completely necessary.

Next, add just a little bit of vegetable broth (enough to coat the bottom) to deglaze the pan and scrape up all the bits sticking to the bottom.  Then, grab the squash out of the oven, peel off the skin, and add it to the pot, along with the rest of your vegetable broth.  I broke mine up into smaller pieces and let it stew for a while to make sure that the squash got nice and soft…because the next step is the food processor!

Note: always let food cool down before pureeing it in a food processor.  I waited a few minutes between taking the 2nd picture above and actually pureeing the stew, because I realized how steamy it still was.

The rest is easy: put the soup back into the pot and add as much or as little spices, milk or cream, and parmesan cheese as you’d like.

I finished it off by chopping some fresh parsley over the top.

Et voilà!  A really simple soup with not too many ingredients that was perfect for yesterday’s cloudy, rainy weather!  Eat your heart out, Rice-a-Roni.

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3 thoughts on “Barefoot Contessa? Not quite, but I’m getting there.

  1. Pingback: 1-Year Blogiversary | Blonde Ambition

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