- 1 large butternut squash, about 3 pounds, halved, seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus 12 whole leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
- 6 cups light chicken stock or broth
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Lightly coat the squash halves with 1 teaspoon of the vegetable oil. Season the inside with salt and pepper and place cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until very tender, about 45 minutes. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and reserve. Discard the peel.
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the remaining vegetable oil and, when hot but not smoking, add the sausage. Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until the onions wilted and starting to caramelize, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, sage and marjoram, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the cooked squash and chicken stock, stir well to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- With a hand-held immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor or blender, puree the soup. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean saucepan. Add the cider vinegar and stir to combine. Add the cream and adjust seasoning, to taste.
- In a small saute pan, cook the butter over medium-high heat until it begins to turn brown around the edges. Add the whole sage leaves and cook until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the leaves to paper towels to drain.
- Serve the soup in bowls, garnished with the crispy sage leaves.