Butternut squash and pear soup, shown here with fried green tomatoes, apples, and cheese.

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
One of the nice things about this recipe is that you can always adjust the texture — add more broth if you like it thinner, or make it with less for a thicker soup.  We like ours on the heartier side.
1 cup diced onion or leek (use only the white and light green parts, if using leek)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil (I tend to use a mixture of both)
6 cups of peeled, cubed butternut squash (large chunks; about 1 1/2 inches or so)
2 medium pears, peeled and diced (you can also use apples)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 1-2 tsp. dried
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I use homemade chicken stock for this)
1/3 cup half and half or heavy cream (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the butter or oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Saute the onions in the butter until soft and translucent, about 5-8 minutes.  Add the squash, pears, and rosemary, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.  Add the broth, cover, and bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.
Puree the soup (I use a hand blender for this, but you can transfer to a blender or food processor) until smooth.  Add the cream, if using, and season to taste.  You can also add more broth at this point if you want a thinner soup.  I serve this with warm sourdough bread and a green salad, or with ham and cheese panini for a more filling meal.