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Fall is finally here and so is soup weather. And when I think of fall soups, I invariably think of squash soup, since squash is so prolific at farmer’s markets and grocery stores right now – and it’s one of my favorite vegetables.  I’ve posted my recipe for squash soup before – here – and this recipe has a complexity gained from the addition of a pear and an apple in the soup.

But the squash soup in this post goes a step further. It contains quinoa balls mixed with vegetables and cheese, a combination I was served on our recent memoir writing retreat in Italy – “Italy, In Other Words.”  The chefs at “Cavatappi,” my favorite restaurant in Varenna, opened their doors one evening just for our group of twelve people, and served a delectable meal starting with squash soup and quinoa balls.

Back home, I did my best at recreating their recipe. The taste and texture are almost the same, although the chefs told me they started with three types of quinoa, and I used only two – a dark and a white variety.

The quinoa fluffs up to several times its dried state.

Meanwhile, dice the vegetables into small pieces.

Then sauté in a bit of olive oil until softened. Cut the cheese into small pieces the same size as the vegetables, then mix the vegetables and cheese together, along with some egg and cornstarch and seasonings. Roll into balls and refrigerate.

These also freeze very well.

Steam the balls for about five minutes, then gently lift them from the steamer and place a few into each bowl of soup.

They melt in your mouth and are an explosion of flavor too.

 

Quinoa Balls
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup white quinoa
  • ½ cup red quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ cup zucchini, finely diced
  • ¾ cup butternut squash, finely diced
  • 1 T. butter
  • a few sprigs of parsley, minced
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, finely diced (or fontina or taleggio)
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • salt, pepper
Instructions
  1. Use your favorite recipe for making squash soup or follow the one I have in the archives here.
  2. Cook the quinoa in boiling water, covered for about 7 minutes. Turn off heat and leave the pot covered for 10 minutes.
  3. When the quinoa has cooled, put it into a bowl.
  4. Sauté the zucchini and butternut squash in the butter for a few minutes until it starts to slightly soften.
  5. Add the vegetables and all the rest of the ingredients to the quinoa and mix well with a spoon.
  6. Using your hands, form the quinoa mixture into balls (the size of a meatball) and steam for three minutes on the range. If you don't have a steaming pot, sauté for a couple of minutes with a dab of butter, turning all the while so it cooks on all sides.
  7. The cheese should start to melt.
  8. Remove from the heat and place a few quinoa balls into the soup. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
 

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