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Roasted Acorn Squash with Mushrooms and Hazelnuts

Serves 4 – 6

Here is a mating of mushrooms with the pure, sweet, sensible acorn squash. The wholesome and modest vegetable, spiked and reddened with cayenne and cinnamon, cut into half-moon-shaped slices signifies the bounty to come and the richness we glean within us. In the fall many unusual wild mushrooms such as oysters, morels and enokis find their way to the market. Try something new. From our astrology cookbook, Signs & Seasons. Photo by Monte.

1 acorn squash, sliced lengthwise into 8-12 wedges and peeled (seeds discarded)

½ cup olive oil, divided

¼ teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 well-packed cup fresh sage leaves, washed and dried,

1 cup finely chopped onion

2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms

1 tablespoon thyme

1 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Combine ¼ cup of the olive oil, the cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and the sage on a rimmed baking sheet just large enough to accommodate the squash. Roll the squash wedges in this mixture, coating them evenly. Distribute the sage leaves over, under and around the squash pieces, making sure to coat them with oil as well.

Arrange the squash crescents so they all lie flat on the oven sheet and place them in the oven.

Roast until the squash is thoroughly soft, the bottoms have browned, and the sage leaves are crispy, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm the olive oil for a minute or so in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the pan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan and continue sautéing until they sweat and wilt. Add the thyme and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt to the pan and stir. Add the hazelnuts, toss thoroughly and using a large spoon to hold back the veggies, strain off any excess liquid.

To serve, arrange two squash crescents on each plate, caramelized-side up, facing one another (waxing and waning). Spoon equal portions of mushrooms between them and serve.

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