Earlier this week Steve and I took the dogs hiking up on Larch Mountain, just east of Portland in the Columbia River Gorge in the pouring rain just because we were getting antsy sitting around all day. Well it was pouring and it wasn’t particularly cold so we were soaked under our rain gear too. It was a pretty miserable hike and we turned around without completing the loop. On the plus side, we made an amazing Ale and Cheddar Soup from Kevin Lynch over at Closet Cooking, which is one of my new favorite blogs and I have got to share the recipe, so hop on over to his sight and take a look. YUM!!!
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced, plus 1/2 an apple sliced into thin wedges
2 celery stalks, chopped in to 1/4 inch slices
1 small-medium onion, diced
1 leek (minus the tough greens), sliced thinly
5 small potatoes, peeled, and diced
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
crème fraîche or sour cream
1. In a large saute pan combine leek, onion, apple, celery and olive oil over medium-low heat until tender, probably 15 minutes or so.
2. In a large soup pot combine milk and potatoes. Bring to a slow boil, careful to not scorch the milk and cook for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
3. While the potatoes are cooking add chicken broth, bay leaf and thyme to the apple mixture and simmer for about 20 minutes.
4. Remove the bay leaf and combine all ingredients in the large soup pot and use a Cuisinart Hand Blender to blend all the ingredients until smooth. You could also blend the soup in batches in your blender or food processor. Our Oster Blender does an awesome job with soups, but clean up is so much quicker with the Cuisinart, so inevitably the Cuisinart Hand Blender has been getting way more action lately.
5. You might need to add a little more chicken broth or milk to achieve desired consistency ours was pretty thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream, a couple of apple slices and a sprinkling of thyme.
We served ours with baked brie, a whole wheat baguette and a dried cranberry, feta and candied pumpkin seed salad.
I’m on a squash kick right now, so this recipe was right up my alley. The acorn squash lends the rigatoni a subtle sweetness that is balanced by the savory flavors of the sausage and arugula; the toasted pumpkin seeds give it just enough nuttiness to round it out. I’ve seen recipes similar to this one all over then net, ours is adapted from Lesley Elliott’s recipe at Five O’Clock Food.
1 acorn squash, quartered and seeded
1/2 pound Italian sausage (spicy or sweet)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced (or roast a whole head of garlic with your squash and throw in the roasted cloves near the end)
1/4 cup dry white wine (we used Pinot Grigio)
2 large handfuls of arugula (kale would also be good, but I like the spiciness of arugula)
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups rigatoni pasta
Bob’s Red Mill Pumpkin Seeds toasted
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
Fresh ground sea salt and black pepper
Makes 4 servings.
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Arrange squash on a foil lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes or until tender. Once finished roasting, allow to cool, and cut into cubes.
3. Boil salted water for your rigatoni and cook to al dente.
4. While your water is boiling cook the Italian sausage in a medium sauté pan until browned, about 10 minutes, then transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
5. In the same pan add 1 tablespoon olive oil and onions. Once the onions are softened add the garlic and stir. Add the white wine and reduce until nearly gone. Then add the chicken broth and reduce until about 1/3 is left, this takes a while. While the broth is reducing stir the arugula into the drained pasta to allow it to wilt.
6. After the broth is reduced add the squash, chili pepper flakes, and sausage to the pan, stir, and remove from heat. Combine rigatoni and squash mixture. Serve up and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and grated parmesan. I even stirred in about 1/3 cup of parmesan before serving to make it extra cheesy.
Notes: Next time I will omit the 4 cloves of minced garlic and I will roast an entire head of garlic with the squash and use some of that instead. Love roasted garlic, YUM!
We probably should have had a salad with this one, but we decided on baked baby bellas instead.
First of all, I am a total sucker for cookbooks, but if you’re also on a squash kick…get this book. It has so many amazing fall recipes!