Butternut Squash and Fennel Soup
Serves 6

1 pound butternut squash, cubed
3 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and cubed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 teaspoons fennel seed, toasted and ground
salt, to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss squash and fennel with olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Liberally salt and pepper, then roast until the edges begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Add garlic cloves to the baking sheet and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove vegetables from oven and transfer to a medium saucepan. Add onion, chicken stock and fennel seed and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes for flavors to combine. Remove from heat and puree soup. (A stick blender or immersion blender is really handy for pureeing hot soups.) Salt to taste and add heavy cream if using.

Note: You can also make this soup by just simmering all the vegetables in the stock until tender and then pureeing the soup, but I like the depth of flavor you get from roasting the vegetables.