Yield: 6 cups/4 bowls
One large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), halved vertically and seeded
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ cup chopped shallot (about 1 large shallot bulb)
1 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
1 to 2 tablespoons butter, to taste
Toasted pepitas, for garnish
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 with just enough olive oil to lightly coat the squash on the inside. Rub the oil over the inside of the squash and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. 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.
2. 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 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
3. 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 the vegetable broth, being careful not to fill the container past the maximum fill line (stir in any remaining broth later). Blend until the soup is smooth.
4. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, to taste, and blend well. Taste and blend in more salt and pepper, if necessary.
Serve immediately or let the soup cool completely before transferring it to a proper storage container and refrigerating it for later.