adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
1/2 medium butternut squash
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup finely diced onion
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 can (14.5 ounces) Italian-style stewed tomatoes (or 1 can tomatoes with 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning)
1 cup chicken stock
salt, to taste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup half-and-half, cream and almond milk, or just almond milk
1. Prepare the butternut squash by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Place squash, cut-side down, in a 9X13-inch pan. Add enough water to come about 1/4-inch up the sides of the squash. Cover with foil and bake for about an hour. Test with a fork to make sure the squash is very tender when pierced with the fork in several places. If the flesh doesn’t easily give to the pressure of the fork, continue cooking in ten minute increments, and testing again, until the squash is tender. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the squash to a large cutting board or plate. Let it cool about 15 minutes before scooping out the flesh. If preparing the day before, scoop out the flesh and place in a tupperware. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until using it in the soup.
2. While the squash is cooking, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter and saute the onion until soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Scoop the squash into the pan with other ingredients. Add the canned tomatoes and chicken stock, salt, sugar, and basil to the pan. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Heat over medium-low heat or until soup is warm. Add the half and half or cream or almond milk and heat until just heated through (do not boil). Serve.
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