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Fall Flavors

Autumn months bring a bounty of vegetables fresh from the farmers’ market, making October the perfect time to enjoy butternut squash soup. Try unique takes on this classic at local restaurants Pizza Antica, Piazza D’Angelo and the Lark Creek Inn, or try the following tips to savor the flavors at home.

Pizza Antica
Chef Gordon Drysdale

This soup is lovely for a crisp fall day; it complements beautifully the rich colors and smells that go hand in hand with harvest time. Apples and white wine provide a nice acidic component to the soup, and the sweetness of the apples emphasizes the naturally occurring sugars in ripe butternut squash. Pair the soup with a salad of fresh fall baby greens with Dijon vinaigrette; the spiciness and slight bitterness will keep the rich sweetness of the soup interesting all the way to the last drop.

Piazza D’Angelo
Chef Nicola Nieddu

I love how many ways you can use squash (or zucca) in dishes such as soups, risotto, pasta, side dishes and dessert. You don’t even have to add a lot of ingredients to create flavor with butternut squash because the squash has enough flavor on its own. In Italy squash is more commonly used in the north and is most often served as crema di zucca (a creamy butternut squash soup). I make it with butternut squash, carrots, celery, onions, a touch of nutmeg and cinnamon and vegetable stock. For a lighter soup I won’t use any cream. I usually finish it with amaretto cookie crumbs to add some texture and a bit more sweetness.

The Lark Creek Inn
chef Erica Holland-Toll

Fall is such a perfect time of year for this classic soup. The sweetness of the butternut squash can be a bit too much for our warm days, though, so I temper the sweetness by tossing nutty pumpkin seeds in a slightly hot spice mix and toasting them until they are fragrant. The nutty heat provided by the pumpkin seeds strikes the right note against the creamy soup. Try adding local winesap apples, which are crisp and high in acidity; they are excellent grated and folded into a lightly seasoned fritter batter and fried, giving the soup crunch and a great flavor without overwhelming it.
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