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Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), halved vertically and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ½ cup chopped shallot (about 1 large shallot bulb)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Up to 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, to taste (substitute olive oil for dairy free/vegan soup)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the butternut squash on the pan and drizzle each half with just enough olive oil to lightly coat the squash on the inside (about 1 teaspoon each). Rub the oil over the inside of the squash and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
  2. Turn the squash face down and roast until it is tender and completely cooked through, about 45 to 50 minutes. Set the squash aside until it’s cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Then use a large spoon to scoop the butternut squash flesh into a bowl and discard the tough skin.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet (or large soup pot, if you’ll be serving soup from that pot), warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped shallot and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the shallot has softened and is starting to turn golden on the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Transfer the cooked shallot and garlic to your blender. Add the reserved butternut, maple syrup, nutmeg and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Pour in 3 cups vegetable broth, being careful not to fill the container past the maximum fill line (you can work in batches if necessary, and stir in any remaining broth later). Blend until smooth
  5. If you would like to thin out your soup a bit more, stir in the remaining cup of broth (I used the full 4 cups, but if you used a small squash, you might want to leave it as is). Add 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, to taste, and blend well. Taste and stir in more salt and pepper, if necessary.
  6. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups graham-cracker crumbs (from 10 whole crackers)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling

  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) bar cream cheese, very soft
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Assemble a 9-inch nonstick springform pan, with the raised side of the bottom part facing up.
  2. Make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until moistened; press firmly into bottom of pan. Bake until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Make the filling: With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth; mix in flour (do not overmix). Add pumpkin puree, pie spice, vanilla, and salt; mix just until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next.
  4. Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into springform, and gently smooth top. Transfer to oven; reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Bake 45 minutes without opening the oven. Turn off oven; to prevent the top from cracking, let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening).
  5. Remove from oven; cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Unmold before serving.