There are so many recipes out there that my “to-make” list is longer than most children’s letters to Santa, and for that reason, I don’t tend to make a lot of things twice. But there are a few rare recipes that are just so good that they are elevated to the select; the few; the favorites.
I’ve been getting Bon Appétit magazine for years and years. Inspired by this blog, I dug into the archives of my cooking magazines. A big shelf in the kitchen stacked high with glossy pages of the likes of Gourmet (oh how I miss Gourmet), a few Cooking Lights, maybe a stray Cook’s Illustrated here and there, Food & Wine, Fine Cooking and loads and loads of Bon Appétits. This does also beg the question if I rarely make the same thing twice, why am I saving all these magazines, but we’ll get to that later.
The oldest Bon Appétit that I found was one from January 1991. The pages are yellowed and a bit wavy from time, or cooking spills, or both. I flip through the pages looking for the tell-tale sign of a recipe of interest – the dogeared page – and I find one that was definitely one of my favorites for a long time. It’s for an Orange Poppyseed Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce. I made it once for a holiday. Thanksgiving? Christmas? It doesn’t really matter. What secured its place in the recipe box was that my dad LOVED it. Raved about it. So it became a go-to recipe for special occasions. I know I made it at least once for my dad’s birthdays. I’m guessing more than that.
This soup comes from a November 2001 Bon Appétit. I remember the first time I made it… it was during a more hippy-esque time in my life although the 70’s had long past. I had discovered protesting for causes, letters to the editors and working endless hours on campaigns for people that would never even come close to winning. I was having a winter solstice party (because of course we shunned the commercialness of Christmas) and as stereotypical as it might be, many were vegetarians. I wanted something hearty and warming and delicious. I found everything I wanted and more in this very simple soup. I still break out this recipe at least once a year. It wouldn’t feel like fall without it. And friends that I made this for years ago, still talk about it and want the recipe. Maybe it will end up on a few of their, and your, favorites lists too.
Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan & Fried Sage Leaves
Makes 8 first course servings
Adapted from recipe in Bon Appétit
3 Tbsp butter or olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
1 2 3/4-pound butternut squash, halved, peeled, seeded, chopped (about 5 cups)
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth, preferably homemade (I did make this once with duck stock which was over the top tasty!)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
24 fresh sage leaves
Melt 1 tablespoon butter or oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion; cover and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add chopped sage; stir 1 minute. Add squash and broth. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly. Puree soup in batches in blender until smooth or use an immersion blender. Return soup to pot. Mix in cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate.)
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter or oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add sage leaves and sauté until brown and toasted, about 2 minutes.
Bring soup to simmer. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with a drizzle of creme frâiche and fried sage leaves.
I looked for that recipe so that I could share it here with you…. the one for the orange poppyseed cheesecake, but apparently it’s been overlooked by the digital age. I hadn’t thought about that recipe in a long time. I guess maybe now it’s a little clearer why I save all those stacks of old magazines.