Candy Cap Roasted Butternut Squash

The haunting maple flavor of Candy Cap Mushrooms makes this so much more than a great side dish. This wintery squash can also become the base of a magnificent butternut squash soup if you have leftovers.

You’ll Need:

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into medium-sized dice

1 cup dried candy cap mushrooms 

1/2 cup lukewarm water

Olive oil

4-6 tablespoons room temperature butter

2-3 tablespoons warm cream, chicken or vegetable stock

1 teaspoon Madeira, optional

Salt and pepper to taste

!/4 teaspoon fresh ground sage, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon , or to taste

Parmesan cheese, grated, for garnish

Maple syrup or honey for garnish (optional)

Roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish

Here’s How: 

Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F degrees.

Place the dried Candy Cap Mushrooms in lukewarm water. Soak for a minimum of 15 minutes. Remove the hydrated mushrooms from the liquid making sure to reserve the soaking liquid. Chop mushrooms into small fine dice. Set aside.

In a medium-sized sauté pan, add chopped mushrooms and butter. Sauté for 2 minutes on medium-high heat until mushrooms become almost dry. 

In an additional 1 quart saucepan, pour reserved Candy Cap soaking liquid into the sauté pan add the Madeira. Boil and reduce the volume to about a ¼ cup. Set aside.

Place squash cut side up in a small roasting pan. Season the flesh of the squash with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Spoon the Candy Cap and butter mixture into the cavity, and the rest of the squash surface.

Gently cover with a foil tent and bake for about 90 minutes. Remove the foil the last 15-20 minutes of roasting time.  

When the squash is toasted brown in spots, and tender when poked with a fork-tender, but still a bit firm to the touch it’s time to remove it from the oven.

Cool slighting and scoop the roasted meat of the squash with the mushrooms into a large mixing bowl. Add butter and cream and a pinch of cinnamon. Mash with a potato masher to the consistency of smashed potatoes or whip with a handheld mixer for a smoother texture. Adjust seasoning to your liking with salt and pepper. 

Place in a serving bowl and garnish with a drizzle of maple syrup or honey ( taste first, because Candy caps are sweet, and can overpower. )

Garnish with pumpkin seeds and grated Parmesan cheese.

Serve steaming hot.

Published by Chef Gigi Gaggero, Host of Silicon Valley's LIVE Food Talk Radio on KSCU 103.3 FM

Professional Chef, Two Time Award-Winning Book Author, Former Academic Director from Le Cordon Bleu, and Host of Silicon Valley's LIVE Food Talk Radio on KSCU 103.3 FM

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