Preheat oven to 425o F, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds into a bowl. Do not discard the seeds!
Place the squash cut-side up on the baking sheet and brush lightly with oil. Sprinkle with salt, and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until squash is fork-tender. Remove from oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. While the squash is roasting, clean the squash seeds in a strainer under running water, removing all of the stringy pulp and rinsing the seeds thoroughly. Shake the strainer to remove as much water as you can, and set aside.
In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the apple and shallot, and a pinch of salt, and let cook for 4-5 minutes, or until softened. Add the sage leaves and let cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Using a spoon, scrape the meat of the squash out of its skin and into the pot. Discard the skin. Add the ginger, brown sugar or maple syrup (if using), and 4 cups of the vegetable stock or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 325o F. Lightly grease the foil-covered baking sheet you used for the squash, and spread the seeds into an even layer. Sprinkle with salt (and a dash of any other seasonings you like), and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the seeds are golden brown, stirring or shaking the pan every 4-5 minutes to keep them from burning. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Once the soup is done simmering, puree with an immersion blender until smooth, adding more water or vegetable stock as needed to reach the desired consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully transfer your soup to a regular blender (in batches, if necessary). Leave a small gap open at your blenders lid to let steam escape, and place a towel over the top to keep it from spattering. Puree until smooth, then return to the pot.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Serve with a drizzle of hazelnut oil, and garnish with roasted squash seeds.
Kindly Submitted by “Will Cook for Friends”