by Chef Sebastian Carosi
Generally, around late August we start to see the plethora of winter squash ripening. Then over the next few months, you will see everything from curry to hubbard, and buttercup to delicata. Winter squash are some of the most delicious, nutritious, and versatile ingredients of the autumn season. Unlike their summer squash counterparts, winter squash is harvested in autumn when they are hard, ripe, and ready. Most of the winter squash varieties are “keepers” and can be stored and enjoyed for constant use throughout the winter months.
Having lived, cooked, and gardened many years in New England I quickly learned my cucurbits. Several of my favorites happen to be heirloom varieties, seeds that have been passed on for many years, over a 100 to be exact. Among my favorites are old-school names like hubbard, buttercup, red kuri, acorn, Kakai, Boston marrow, North Georgia candy roaster, Lakota, sweet meat and Hopi pale grey.
Over the years I have kept my hunger for cucurbits alive in many ways including sourcing very rare native American heirloom squash seeds to grow and utilize on my hyper-seasonal and locally driven, weekly changing menus. With family roots in the mountains of Italy, Abruzzo to be exact, I was able to dig up several old family recipes that were easy to incorporate into my ever-expanding culinary cucurbit repertoire.
Although now most of my cooking is done at home, I still utilize and often chase down rare winter squash to make the simplest of Autumn dishes. Soups mostly but every now and then a curry, or a risotto, and when I get rambunctious – pansotti a little pot-bellied ravioli filled with roast winter squash and served in a sage brown creamery butter. Yum.
This very simple and very nutritious soup recipe generally contains a mixture of as many different winter squashes as you can find and would like to add. Truthfully, the more the better. I usually use a combination of heirlooms such as hubbard, buttercup, butternut, sweet meat, and red kuri. They all seem to bring their own complexity to a soup with so few ingredients.
I usually try to keep the thc dosage on warm soups from 2 to 6 milligrams, so no one gets totally wrecked in front of the family. If you are seeking a different result, around your family members during the holidays please feel free to serve them two or three bowls and sit back and enjoy the evening. I hope you will enjoy the simple depth of flavor each squash brings to the pot. A quick chef’s note: this velvety smooth soup is best enjoyed smoking the best of your harvest with loved ones in front of a warm crackling fire.
chef sebastian carosi
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