Squash and sage soup

Serves four

This is a lovely, thick soup with sweet and musty undertones.

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
3 bay leaves
1 small bunch of sage, leaves only
1 dried red chilli
1 butternut or onion squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Sea salt and pepper
1 jar of good-quality Italian plum tomatoes
2 slices of peasant-style white bread
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Place a large pan over a medium heat and pour in the oil. When the oil is warm, add the onion, bay and sage. Crumble in the chilli and sweat for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. It may be necessary to turn the heat down slowly so the onions do not brown.

Add the chopped squash and garlic and cook for a further 10 minutes. Season well with salt then add the tomatoes and one cup of water (230ml/ 71/2fl oz). Put the lid on and cook until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.

Tear the bread into the soup and turn off the heat. Allow the soup to sit for 10 minutes then return the heat to low. Once the soup is warm, taste and add more salt if needed and a little black pepper.

Divide into warm soup plates and drizzle with the oil. It is very nice with a little Parmesan grated on top just before serving.

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