I managed to make it all the way through this ridiculous winter with barely a cough, wheeze, or a sniffle. So of course during this very first non-freezing, nearly balmy week, I woke up with a scratchy throat which quickly evolved into watery eyes, possibly a fever, and definitely a hacking cough. Full on cold. Lovely. But there was chicken broth and some butternut squash lingering on the counter, quickly approaching its end. Butternut squash is a vegetable that always makes me feel virtuous and healthful while eating it, but as much as I love it, the texture sort of bores me before I make it through a whole mug or bowl. So I’m always looking for ways to add texture and other flavors to keep my ADD mouth from getting distracted before I get my full dose of omega 3s and beta-carotene. For this soup, I sauteed 1 finely chopped shallot, 1 finely sliced leek, and a few slices of red onion that I had leftover in about 2 tablespoon of butter in the bottom of my saucepan. When they were aromatic and starting to turn translucent, I added an entire butternut squash, cubed into about 1/2 inch pieces, a sprinkle of salt, a good few grinds of pepper, and let those cook for about 10 minutes, stirring it all around a bit as it cooked. Then I poured in 3 cups of chicken stock, brought the liquid up to a boil and then turned it down a bit, letting the mixture simmer for 30 minutes. When the squash is tender it’s pretty much done. I blitzed it with my immersion blender and poured a serving into my favorite soup mug. The toppings I find are key to keeping things interesting. Sometimes a dollop of Greek yogurt and a shower of chives. Sometime crispy frizzled garlic or shallots. Pickled peppers work as well. But this was one of my faves — a fan of super thin Cameo apple slices and a handful of crushed salt-and-pepper pistachios gave it the right balance of sweet, savory, spicy, and salty.