Gingered Butternut Squash Soup with Spicy Pecan Cream
Dean Fearing loves butternut squash, especially when it's combined with ginger, as it is for his smooth, gently sweet soup. He tops it with whipped cream flecked with chopped pecans for flavor and crunch.
An intensely fruity wine like an Amarone boils down to something so rich, it's almost meaty. Jean-Georges Vongerichten reduces the Italian red with thin slices of earthy mushrooms, then swirls the purply sauce into a risotto; it would be equally delicious on polenta or even on a piece of grilled bread.
Jim Burke's cucumber soup with lime, garlic and ginger is light, refreshing and restorative; his kitchen staff jokes that it's like a mini spa treatment. For extra substance, Burke adds salt-roasted shrimp, avocado and a hit of spicy chile oil.