One of the quickest and easiest recipes I have is for butternut squash soup. This is one of my “fast food” recipes. Just cook the squash, add 3 tablespoons of butter, sprinkle with a five-spice blend (if desired), then blend it up, and pour it into bowls. One pound of squash makes two servings, and you can easily double or triple this if you have more guests or if you want leftovers. It’s just as easy and quick to make 6 servings as 2 servings.
You can use fresh or frozen squash, and it can be almost any type of winter squash. Butternut just happens to be a favorite of ours, but acorn, delicata, and similar squash would also work great. If you didn’t grow any winter squash in your garden this year, or if you’ve already eaten them all, you can get one-pound bags of frozen butternut squash at Whole Foods. (If you’ve seen frozen squash anywhere else, let us know in the comment section below!) I prefer to boil frozen squash, whereas I roast a fresh squash in the oven.
A traditional five-spice blend usually includes cinnamon, fennel, cloves, star anise, and white pepper. If you prefer, you can simply sprinkle a little cinnamon or cloves on the squash when it’s cooking. Do not be tempted to add a lot. I ruined this one time because I used way too much spice. More is not always better! (It’s embarrassing to admit how much I used. I’m sure you won’t use that much!)
Butternut squash soup makes a great first course in a multi-course meal. I think it works especially well when the main dish is pork chops and applesauce with a side dish of buttered kale, but you could also serve it along with a hearty main dish salad and some homemade bread.