Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 31

Chef Austin Rocconi prefers kosher salt for his
dishes. If using kosher sea salt or any sea salt, use
less than you might otherwise, as its flavor is
assertive.
A medium butternut squash weighs about
2 to 2-1/2 pounds. Choose squashes that have wide
necks, as that's where most of the flesh is. Making
half of this recipe is easy.

ISTOCK.COM / IVANNAG82

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

A garnish of lightly toasted pepitas can
add a bit of crunch to the smooth texture
of butternut squash soup.

South, landing in Atlanta and working at the restaurants Kyma and
Canoe.
In 2011, Rocconi took on his first executive chef role at Montaluce
Winery's Le Vigne Restaurant in Dahlonega. There he began to understand the wine-making process and how pairing wine with food creates
a memorable gastronomic experience.
" We surprised a lot of people with what we were doing out there, "
Rocconi says, noting that he and his team enjoyed being creative. Some
unconventional pairings included pork belly with cotton candy made
from local honey and hot pistachio cake served on marble slabs.
At Montaluce he met his future wife, Crystal Crouch, who had just
begun working as a server when he arrived. She continued in the
restaurant business, following him as he left Montaluce. Rocconi
moved from one culinary post to another in California, learning more
culinary skills at La Toque, a one-star Michelin restaurant in Napa, and
studying wine.
At home, both he and his wife cook, Rocconi says. Crouch says she
likes his fish preparations best, including a sea bass dinner he made
at home.
" The combination of that buttery, melt-in-your-mouth, rich and
silky-meated fish over a rainbow of summer vegetables will stay with
me forever. I can taste it again just talking about it! " she says. " Austin
does not conceive complicated dishes. He takes the best of something
that he wants to cook, and he cooks it with [a] trained and steadyhanded technique. "
That sums up his approach to food at Boone's as well. Diners can
find Gulf crabcakes, Creole Gulf shrimp, house-made saffron tagliolini,
Heritage Farms (N.C.) pork and Baldwin-based Springer Mountain
Farms grilled chicken on the menu.
Of course, one does not need to be a golfer to enjoy a meal at
Boone's, but for those who do play, Rocconi's menu adds glam to
the game.
Jane F. Garvey is a food, wine and travel freelance writer from
Decatur.

4 medium butternut squashes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled, cut julienne
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
Salt, to taste
3 bay leaves
5 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup brown sugar
Water, as needed
1 pint heavy cream*
Maple syrup, as desired

Prepare butternut squashes by cutting off
the tops and bottoms, then cut in half lengthwise.
Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Peel
squashes with a sturdy vegetable peeler and cut into
chunks, then into large dice. Note: There should be
about 16 cups of diced squash. Set aside.
In an 8-quart pot, heat the vegetable oil and
slowly caramelize onions over low heat until deep
golden. Add chili flakes and cook for 1 minute.
Season to taste with salt. Add bay leaves and cinnamon sticks, and stir into the oil until combined
and aromatic. Stir in brown sugar, then add a little
water to keep the sugar from clumping and burning.
Add the butternut squash and cover with water until
everything is floating and moving freely. Season with
salt again. Bring to a simmer and slowly cook, uncovered, for 1 hour until all the squash is completely
cooked and falling apart. Add cream and simmer an
additional 5 minutes. *Note: Omit heavy cream and
use water or vegetable stock for a vegan soup. Coconut milk or cream is also a tasty option.
Remove bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. Using
a slotted spoon, remove the cooked pieces of squash
from the cooking liquid and place into a blender jar
along with enough cooking liquid to enable blending. Blend until very smooth, pour into a bowl, and
repeat until all is blended. Use as much cooking
liquid as needed to smooth out the soup or, if too
thick, to thin it to a desired consistency. Add syrup
to taste, if desired, for a sweeter soup. Season to taste
with salt. Yields 16 cups.
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Georgia Magazine - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - February 2021

Contents
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 4
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 5
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 6
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 7
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 8
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 9
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 10
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 11
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 12
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Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 14
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Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - 18
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Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - February 2021 - Cover4
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