Cooking by the seat of your pants can be liberating. All you need to do is open your fridge or freezer, pull out the items that inspire you and just go!
Sam Sifton from NYT (New York Times) Cooking is a true cooking maestro and renegade. He pens a no-recipe recipe every Wednesday. He creates and shares his recipe in paragraph form. No list of ingredients, no specific measurements, and no step by step instructions. He wants you to improvise, to be creative, and most importantly, think outside of the box.
No-recipe recipes are not for the cooking faint of heart.
I apologize in advance to all you precision bakers or disciplined chefs. It’s time to turn on a little music of choice, pour some Prosecco and see what’s hanging around your pantry and fridge. Relax. Step away from those measuring instruments and wash your hands. Let’s begin.
No Recipe Butternut Squash Soup
With the weather so uncooperative and the thought of leaving the house to forage for food is disheartening, why don’t we take a look and see what you have hanging around. After perusing my pantry and fridge I found some spectacular ingredients for this spur of the moment soup.
Fragrance is the key to family engagement and buy in. If it smells good, they become interested, and they will eat it. Start by sautéing shallots, garlic, and olive oil. I added a link of garlic and basil sausage from Ascioti’s Meatballs and More in Solvay, New York. (It is well worth the trip.) As they began to sweat and cook, I added shiitake mushrooms and continued to stir. A little rosemary and thyme.
Note: you need to remove everything from the pan at this point before you add the squash. The submersible blender will kill it.
OK, now the smells are becoming tantalizing and it is time now to create the soup base. Add white wine and vegetable stock to your pot. Stir a bit and add cubed butternut squash. Season as you go. Let’s allow the mixture to do its dance and simmer while I do some work in my office.
Upon my return I add the remnants of a stray sweet potato to the mix. A few turns with the submersible blender and I have soup! It is time to put it all together. Add the steamed shrimp. Now go back and grab that bowl of sheer yumminess that you started with and add that too.
The flavors are coming together, and the shrimp flavor is infused into the base. Add prosciutto and whatever other seasoning sparks your fancy.
Serve with a cool glass of white wine, your choice, and some crusty bread.
Author’s note: This is a great thing to do together on Valentine’s Day. A little soft music, a glass of wine, and some open, non-scripted creativity. Happy Valentine’s Day.