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Butternut Squash Soup with Wild Mushroom Crostini

Serves 6

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For the soup
2 medium size butternut squashes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for cooking
2 shallots, diced
2 sprigs of thyme
1 litre of vegetable stock (a good quality stock cube will do)
60ml double cream
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

For the crostini
1 small baguette, sliced into 6 x ½ inch slices
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
150g wild mushrooms, cleaned
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
50g ricotta
¼ small bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

To make the soup
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and gently cook the shallots and thyme until soft, add the squash and cook for 10 minutes. Add stock, bring to boil and simmer on low heat until the squash is tender – around 15 minutes. Remove the thyme, add the cream, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne. Stir well. Remove from the heat.

Liquidise until smooth, strain into clean saucepan and season if necessary.

To make the crostini
Preheat the grill and place the baguette slices on the tray; drizzle with half the olive oil and grill until golden brown, flip and grill on the other side, keep to one side. Heat the rest of the olive oil in a non-stick pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook till soft (about 5 minutes). Then add the mushrooms and cook until they are golden brown. Add the parsley and season to taste. Top each crostini with a spoonful of both ricotta and wild mushrooms.

To serve
Reheat the soup. Divide into 6 bowls and serve with the crostini on the side.

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