orzo, delicata squash and chicken soup with sage

Hot, cold, smooth, chunky, creamy, brothy—soups come in myriad forms, yet always delight. Considered by many to be the ultimate comfort food, they are welcome additions to the dining table throughout the months, marking seasons and occasions with flavorful flair.

You can save time making this colorful and plentiful soup by using leftover rotisserie or roasted chicken. You can also substitute a different type of squash, or sweet potatoes. Make it meatless by omitting the chicken, substituting vegetable broth, and serving with shaved Parmesan.

serves 4–6

Ingredients

4 delicata squash (23/4 lb/4 kg total), peeled, seeded, and cubed
3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 small skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 3/4 lb/375 g total)
1 cup (7 oz/220 g) orzo
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 sage leaves, torn into pieces
4 cups (32 fl oz/1 l) chicken broth

Method

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the squash with 2 Tbsp of the oil, season with salt and pepper, and spread on the prepared baking sheet. Place the chicken on another baking sheet, brush with the remaining 1 Tbsp oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place the squash on the top rack in the oven and the chicken on the lower rack. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and a thermometer inserted in to the thickest part reaches 160°F (71°C), about20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and continue to roast the squash until it is tender and caramelized, about 10 minutes longer. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it into bite-sized pieces.

Put 6 cups (48 fl oz/1.5 l) water in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 tsp salt and the orzo and cook for7 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.

In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, garlic, and sage and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the orzo, shredded chicken, and squash and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Appears with permission from Williams-Sonoma Soup of the Day: 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year. Recipes by Kate McMillan; photographs by Erin Kunkel. Copyright 2011 by Weldon Owen Inc. and Williams-Sonoma Inc.