Every Saturday morning when I lived in New York City I couldn’t wait to get up early and get outside. It’s pretty cool to feel like you have the city to yourself, even for a minute.
This recipe I’m sharing today is one I’m really fond of, as the flavors of roasted fall veggies and fresh herbs brings to mind a favorite recurring memory: returning home from a long walk through the park with DJ on a sunny and crisp Fall day in New York with my haul from the market, and the smells of fall coming from the oven and filling the little apartment. I remember feeling pretty proud of how far I’d come in the kitchen to be able to pull off a great meal from such a tiny space.
As I cooked away in my Barbie sized kitchen, I always considered that there was a good chance I was probably the first tenant to ever actually use the oven for cooking. It had probably been used for storing sweaters, maybe. But I had a dishwasher for that.
My most memorable Saturdays are from that Fall, right around the time when days are cool but you can still have a drink on a patio outside if you bundle up – mulled wine, a cozy sweater, and people watching from a perch at the Grey Dog in Nolita is a pretty perfect way to spend an afternoon.
My favorite stops on Saturday mornings were always the Little Cupcake Bake Shoppe, around the corner from my apartment, to grab a pumpkin spice latte, and Maison Kayser in the Flatiron District for a warm loaf of fresh baked cheese bread. Bread and latte in hand, I’d continue north to Central Park for a long walk through my favorite place in the city. On the return home, I’d cut through the Union Square Greenmarket to pick up something fresh and local to cook for dinner at home.
This soup has an unexpected kick from the dash of cayenne pepper, which you can dial back if you prefer. Topped with fontina sage crostini it makes an elegant starter to a meal of beef tenderloin, sautéed green beens, and garlic rosemary roasted potatoes. Make sure you have extra crostini for the table; they go fast.
2. Add prepared veggies to a roasting pan or baking dish - I used a 9x13 glass dish.
3. Peel the garlic and add whole cloves to dish.
4. Add the herbs, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, then add olive oil and toss to coat.
5. Roast until vegetables are tender (check the carrots specifically) about 1 hr 20 minutes.
6. Once roasted, add to food processor with 1 cup of vegetable stock and puree.
7. Once blended, pour mixture into a large saucepan and add the remaining stock and stir well.
8. Simmer on low for 10 minutes and add more stock if desired to thin the soup to your taste Taste for seasoning and serve immediately with crostini, or cool to room temp and freeze.
9. For Fontina Sage Crostini
10. Preheat the broiler to high.
11. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet.
12. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sage and cheese; season with salt, to taste.
13. Broil until the cheese has melted and the bread is light golden, about 2-3 minutes.
14. Place one crostini atop each bowl of soup and serve.
* 2 carrots, roughly chopped
* 3 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
* 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
* 6 sage leaves, whole
* 6 sprigs of thyme, buds removed from stem
* 1 sprig of rosemary, minced fine
* ¼ tsp. cayenne red pepper powder
* salt and pepper to taste
* 2 tbsp. olive oil
* 4 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock, plus more to taste
* For the Fontina Sage Crostini
* 1 baguette, sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 8 fresh sage leaves, minced
* 1 cup grated fontina cheese
* Kosher salt