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04/29/14

Soup and a Sandwich - Version 2

Roasted Carrot and Squash Soup with Prosciutto and Gouda Paninis.

Nothing makes for a better lunch than soup and a sandwich. However, you don't have to limit this menu to lunchtime. We had this for dinner tonight. Flavorful, warm, and filling. The perfect food for a cold winter evening.

You will need about 1 1/2 hours to prepare the meal, but the actual hands-on cooking time is less than 30 minutes. The soup could be made ahead of time to save even more time when you are ready to dish it up.

The soup recipe is original. It is an amalgam of several different recipes I've read and advice from a chef. The panini recipe is from Wolfgang Puck.

This was the first time I've made a grilled sandwich with mayo. It worked great. You don't have to run out and buy fancy cheeses and $15 per pound Prosciutto to make these sandwiches. Nor do you have to buy special bread. You can use regular sliced bread or Italian bread and whatever cheese and meat you have in your fridge. After all, the panini recipe listed here is nothing more than a fancy grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich. That being said, I purchased a couple of loaves of rustic, artisan sourdough bread and bought Prosciutto, Gouda cheese, and fresh Mozzarella. I think it was worth the extra cost and effort.

Hope you enjoy the recipes and pictures.

Roasted Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup

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Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash
5 medium carrots
Oil blend - 3 tbsp olive oil to 1 tbsp canola oil
1 can vegetable broth
1/2 cup cream
1 tbsp butter cut into 4 pats
Salt and Pepper
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Honey

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 f
Slice the carrots into 1/2" slices. Put into a bowl, drizzle 1/2 - 1 tbsp of the oil blend over carrots and then toss to coat. Spread on a foil lined baking sheet. Split the squash. Remove seeds and strings from center with a large spoon. Brush with the oil mixture and season the inside with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on same pan as carrots. Bake vegetables until tender.

The carrots will be done in about 20 minutes. The squash will take about 45-60 minutes. The squash will be done when the skin starts to brown. Pierce with a fork to test doneness.

Remove carrots from oven when done and place in the soup pot.

Scoop the meat from the squash when done and add to pot. Discard skins.

Add the broth. Season lightly with salt and pepper

Puree in the pot with a wand blender or in batches in a food processor. If soup seems too thick add water. Add cinnammon, nutmeg, and cream. Blend again until soup has smooth texture. Taste and add seasonings as needed.

Put in soup bowls. Dot with pat of butter and a bit of drizzled honey. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. =========================================================================

You don't need an expensive panini press to make panini. Here's a picture of my panini maker. It is a large pot half filled with water. Make sure you wash the bottom of the pan before using it as a press. Using this large pot allowed me to make two sandwiches at a time. You may still need to press down a bit on the sandwiches to flatten them fully. Don't press so hard that you force out the cheese or other fillings.

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The following recipe is from Wolfgang Puck.

Smoked Gouda and Prosciutto Panini

Makes 1 sandwich; 1 main-course serving or 4 appetizer servings

Ingredients - Smoked Gouda & Prosciutto Panini

2 slices good-quality sourdough bread, each about 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons good-quality prepared mayonnaise, extra-virgin olive oil, or unsalted butter
2 ounces thinly sliced smoked Gouda cheese
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or cooked ham
2 tablespoons very thinly sliced red onion
2 thin slices ripe Roma (plum) tomato
1 ounce shredded Fontina cheese
Preparation - Smoked Gouda & Prosciutto Panini Recipe by Wolfgang Puck Recipe

Preheat a panini maker, a double-sided electric countertop grill, or a grill pan or heavy skillet.

Meanwhile, brush both sides of each slice of bread with the mayonnaise, olive oil, or butter. On one of the slices, assemble the sandwich filling in even layers: first the smoked Gouda cheese, then the prosciutto, followed by the onions, tomato slices, Fontina, and the second bread slice.

Place the sandwich in the panini maker, double-sided grill, grill pan, or skillet. Close the panini maker or double-sided grill, or place another heavy pan on top of the sandwich to press it down in the pan or skillet. (Make sure the bottom of your heavy pan is clean!)

Cook until the sandwich is crisp and deep golden brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total cooking time in a panini maker or doubled-sided grill. If you're cooking the sandwich in a pan on the stovetop, after 3 to 4 minutes carefully lift off the top pan and use a spatula to flip over the sandwich to crisp the other side. (Be aware that stovetop cooking will take about twice as long.)

Transfer the sandwich to a cutting board. If serving the sandwich as a main course, cut it diagonally in half with a sharp knife and transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately; if serving it as an appetizer, cut each half crosswise to make a total of 4 small triangular pieces and transfer to a platter kept warm in a 200 degrees F. (95 degrees C) oven while you make more.

(c) 2008 WOLFGANG PUCK WORLDWIDE, INC. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

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