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When you roast winter root vegetables along with shallots, leeks, and garlic, they caramelize and become sweet. Although this soup takes about an hour from start to finish, the resulting flavor is startlingly complex. It’s important to cut the vegetables about the same size to ensure even cooking.

Adapted from Soup Swap: Comforting Recipes to Make and Share by Kathy Gunst.

Makes 10–12 tasting portions or 6–8 full servings

3 medium leeks
3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
1 (2-pound) butternut or other winter squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 large or 3 medium celery stalks, cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 shallots, quartered
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried
3 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 cups homemade vegetable broth or canned low-sodium vegetable broth
¾ cup dry white wine Parsley Pesto (recipe follows) for serving
croutons for serving

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
2. Trim off the dark green sections from the leeks and save for making vegetable stock. Halve the pale green and white sections lengthwise. Rinse under cold water, pat dry, and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces.
3. In one large or two medium very shallow roasting pan(s) or rimmed baking sheet(s), combine the leeks, parsnips, carrots, squash, celery, celery root, shallots, garlic, and thyme. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to evenly coat the vegetables. Vegetables should not be on top of one another; they should be in a single layer.
4. Roast the vegetables for 20 minutes. Turn the oven temperature to 450°F and roast for another 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are a nice golden brown, almost crispy on the edges, and almost soft when you gently test them with a fork or small, sharp knife. They should not be soft and mushy, as they will continue cooking in the soup.
5. Meanwhile, in a large stockpot over high heat, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Turn the heat to medium-low and gently simmer.
6. Remove the vegetables from the oven, add the wine, and deglaze the pans, using a spatula to loosen any bits clinging to the bottom. Pour everything from the baking sheet into the pot with the broth. Turn the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
7. Ladle the soup into mugs or bowls and serve piping hot, topped with the pesto and croutons.