Butternut Squash Soup with Truffle Grilled Cheese Croutons

Farm Fresh To You is a home delivery service for local organic produce. As a customer you select how often you’d like delivery service, choose your produce box size, and indicate what types of fruit and vegetables you are interested in getting delivered. I subscribe to Farm Fresh To You bi-weekly, and it has taught me to be more creative and to plan my meals around what in season. I have also learned to work with new ingredients, such as purple cauliflower, bok choy, rainbow chard, and beets. This past week for $25 I received a delivery of apples, oranges, grapefruit, kale, carrots, kumquats, and two beautiful butternut squash. I roasted the first butternut squash, and ate it with a spoon. It was so smooth and creamy! I decided to get a little more creative for the second. I sauteed some vegetables, added chicken stock and the roasted squash, seasoned it and blended it up. To take my soup up a notch, I made grilled cheese sandwiches, cut them into crouton cubes, and sprinkled them with white truffle oil and salt. You can’t get this fresh taste from a can of soup, and you definitely can’t get truffle grilled cheese croutons from a box. 

 

Ingredients:
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 onion, diced
1 large butternut squash, peeled
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Salt & Pepper
4 slices crusty wheat bread
Your favorite cheese
White Truffle Oil and/or salt for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the butternut squash in 1-inch cubes. Place on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil, about a 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread it in a single layer. Roast for 40 until tender.

Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add carrot, celery and onion. Cook until vegetables have begun to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in butternut squash, thyme, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Let the soup cool for a few minutes and carefully purée in batches in a blender.

For the truffled grilled cheese croutons, heat a panini grill. Place the four slices of bread on a cutting board and brush lightly with olive oil. Turn the slices over and add cheese to two slices of bread. Place the remaining two slices of bread on top of the cheese, oiled sides up.

Grill the sandwiches on the panini grill for about 4-5 minutes, until melty and brown. Place back on the cutting board, allow to cool for a few minutes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle with white truffle salt and oil. 

Truffled Pappardelle with Heirloom Tomatoes and Spinach

I love carbo-loading. It is one of the many benefits of being a runner. This pre-Los Angeles 13.1 meal was made almost entirely from Christmas gifts. I love experimenting with my foodie gifts! Tom, the pappardelle travelled well, and was the perfect canvas for sautéed heirloom tomatoes and spinach. Carmen and Jim, I felt really cool drizzling the pasta with white truffle oil. It made my pasta taste like an expensive entrée straight out of Beverly Hills. I have been using truffle on everything lately: eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, popcorn. If you do not have truffle oil in your pantry, go buy some. It makes everything taste gourmet. Expect to see more recipes featuring truffle in the upcoming weeks!

 

Ingredients:
8 ounces pappardelle pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes
4 ounces baby spinach (1/2 a bag)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt & Pepper
Pecorino Romano sprinkling
A few drops of white truffle oil

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving some pasta water, and return pasta to pot.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until tomato skins are split and shallots are golden brown, about 4 minutes.

Gradually add spinach, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, 3 minutes.

Toss tomatoes, spinach and pasta, and sprinkle with Pecorino Romano and red pepper flakes. Serve in bowls, and top with a few drops of white truffle oil.