This velvety smooth soup can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cool and refrigerate, covered; re-warm just before serving. The croutons can be made 2 days in advance. Store in a covered container at room temperature.
Roasted Pear and Delicata Squash Soup
2 pounds squash or butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 firm but ripe Bartlett Pears, cut in half lengthwise and cored
4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups ½-inch cubes of French or rustic white bread, crusts removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the flesh of the squash and pears with olive oil and place, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Use a spoon to scrape out the flesh of the squash and pears, and put in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Discard the skins. Puree until smooth. Add 1 to 2 cups of the chicken broth and continue processing until smooth. Put this mixture in a 3 ½- to 4-quart saucepan; add the remaining chicken broth, cream, nutmeg, and sugar. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Place the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over, add Parmesan, and toss the bread cubes until thoroughly coated. Spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until toasty brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, ladle the soup into a warmed soup tureen or individual soup bowls, garnish with the croutons, and serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 6