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Roasted Butternut Soup with Toasty Cheese Croutons

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch cubes butternut squash
3/4 cup peeled, 3/4-inch cubes rutabaga
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon each: dried thyme and crushed rosemary*
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste
Toasty Cheese Croutons:
1 1/2 cups small torn pieces rustic bread
3/4 cup crumbled aged Gouda or Parrano cheese
Preheat oven to 425°F. Place squash and rutabaga on a large shallow baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; toss to coat evenly. Spread in a single layer and roast for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook for 10 minutes or until soft and lightly browned. Stir in roasted vegetables and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then carefully puree with a stick blender or in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Place back in saucepan with herbs and cook for 15 minutes more; season with salt and pepper. To prepare croutons, place bread and cheese in a nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add a few grinds of pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown. Serve croutons over soup. Makes 6 servings.

*Crushed rosemary is much finer than traditional dried rosemary. I love Morton & Basset brand, but you can also crush finely between your fingers between adding the recipe.

 
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