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butternut squash, leek and flageolet bean soup with sage walnut pesto

 Last week we were tricked, by our weather, to believe that winter was over.  One afternoon last week the temperature was over 85 degrees, almost 90.  I planted six tomato 🍅 plants, eggplants 🍆 peppers 🌶 two kinds of squash, cucumbers 🥒  and a few herbs 🌿  Just like that everything changed and a wintery bone chilling cold front blew in over the coast of Northern California and it was freezing 🥶 this morning. I'm also wondering why we don't have a squash emoji ??? with all the new emojis you think we would have one. 

Today is a perfect soup weather day.  A spoonful of sage walnut pesto stirred into a hot bowl of soup is a small taste of wintered over potted herbs 🪴  I'm very thankful for these herbs 🌿 because they add so much flavor to my cold weather soups and other dishes, with a reminder of summertime.  I'm adding sweet basil to my garden as soon as this cold snap passes.  My husband and I loved this healthy flavorful butternut squash bean soup as I think you will too.  Note: prepare the flageolet beans for the soup earlier in the day or day before.

Ingredients and Recipe for Butternut Squash, Leek and Flageolet Soup with Sage Walnut Pesto
Serves 6 generously 

Sage Walnut Pesto

1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/3 cup sage leaves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place the walnuts and garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until chopped, about 5-6 times.
Add the parsley and sage, pulse a few more times, with the motor running slowly pour in the olive oil and process until smooth, scraping down as needed.  Add the parmesan and pulse a few times to combine.  Remove from the food processor and place in a small glass container, cover with plastic wrap or a layer of olive oil and set aside.

Butternut Squash, Leek and Flageolet Soup 

2 pounds peeled butternut squash, discard the seeds and cut into small cubes
4 cups unsalted chicken broth 
2 cups water
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 medium size leeks, white and light greens parts halved lengthwise, sliced thin and washed.
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 garlic cloves minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 ounces flageolet beans, soaked over night and simmered with bay leaves for about one hour or until tender, drained and set aside.

Bring the broth and water to a boil, add the squash and reduce the heat to medium.  Simmer the squash for about 20 minutes or until tender.  Mash the squash until broken down into the broth, cover the pot and set aside.  Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the leeks, garlic and tomato paste.  Cook and stir mixture until soft, about 10 minutes, season with salt and pepper.  Add the butternut squash broth, simmer for about 20 minutes.  Stir in the beans and simmer for another few minutes, check the seasoning.
Serve soup hot in bowls with a spoonful of sage pesto on top.


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