Butternut squash Soup:
4 tablespoons extra light olive oil
12 garlic cloves, thickly sliced, divided
8 fresh sage leaves
1 white onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch rounds
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon C&H® or Domino® sugar
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup brandy or sherry
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups chicken broth
Confit of Peppers, Asparagus and Spicy Sausage:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ white onion, finely diced
1 cup spicy smoked sausage, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 cup fresh asparagus, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons softened butter
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon truffle oil (optional, for an extra kick)
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Serves 6 to 8
To prepare the Butternut Squash Soup:
In a stockpot, heat the extra light olive oil over high heat. Add 4 cloves of sliced garlic and the fresh sage leaves, and cook over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes
Add the onion, celery, remaining garlic, carrots, thyme, sugar and red pepper flakes to the pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring well, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the brandy or sherry, bring to a boil, and stir well to dislodge the brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Cook until the brandy or sherry is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Add the pieces of butternut squash and the chicken broth, and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring well every 15 minutes. Add the soup, in batches, to a food processor and process it to a smooth, cream-like consistency. Strain, place the soup back in the stockpot, and keep warm.
Serve the soup in bowls and garnish with the Confit of Peppers, Asparagus & Spicy Sausage. Top with a generous sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese.
To prepare the Peppers, Asparagus and Spicy Sausage:
Cook the extra virgin olive oil over high heat until it sizzles, then lower the heat to medium-low. Add the diced onion, stir well, and cook for 2 minutes, then add the sausage, asparagus and bell pepper, and mix together. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring well, for 2 more minutes.
Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes, and stir well for 1 minute. Then add the brandy and cook 1 more minute.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the butter, and stir well until completely melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the optional truffle oil, stirring well before serving.
Set the confit aside and keep it warm until you’re ready to use it.