Hazelnuts, Squash & Barbera d’Alba
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Hazelnuts & Ancient Grains
We’re back in the hunt in the TuLangheRoero photo/recipe contest. This week’s ingredient? Hazelnut or Nocciola Tonda Gentile in Italian. A first thought would be a dessert, and there are many fine traditional Piemontese desserts that feature hazelnuts. This main dish is non-traditional, but the hazelnuts shine. Try this on your next Meatless Monday, and don’t forget the wine!
Podere Ruggeri Corsini Barbera d’Alba 2012 ($22 locally)
Eye: Dark red with a barely purple edge, not quite opaque in the center
Nose: Rich red fruit, no trace of vanilla or caramel. Makes sense as this wine was aged in steel.
Mouth: Red fruit, very lively, crisp acidity but not tart. Very low tannins. Pairing a red wine with a vegetarian main course can be tricky, but Barbera is a good choice.
Acorn Squash stuffed with Hazelnuts and Ancient Grains
Adapted from a recipe in the San Francisco Chronicle
A perfect all-in-one Meatless Monday dinner that can be prepared ahead.
Wine pairing: Barbera D’Alba is a wonderful accompaniment to this meal. Bright red fruit and good acidity balance the earthy squash and rich nuts.
- 2 acorn squash, halved with centers scraped out
- 1/3 cup pearled faro
- 1/3 cup quinoa
- 3 brussels sprouts, shredded on a mandolin
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1 rib of celery, sliced thinly
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs minced fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup craisins, chopped
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, roasted, skins removed & coarsely chopped
- 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
- Extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 250° F
- Roast hazelnuts for 20 minutes, remove from oven to cool. Rub the hazelnuts to shed the thin brown skins.
- Turn up oven to 350° F
- Brush the cut side of each acorn squash half with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper lightly
- Roast the squash in the oven for 45 minutes, until the flesh is soft. Remove from the oven to cool
- Put the faro and 2/3 cup water in a pan, bring to a boil, then cover and start to simmer. After about 10 minutes of simmering, add the quinoa and an additional 2/3 cup water, continue simmering for another 15 minutes, then remove from heat (keep covered)
- In a skillet with 1 Tbs olive oil, brown the onion, celery, garlic and thyme until the onion is translucent.
- In a large bowl, mix the faro/quinoa mixture with the onion mixture, Brussels sprouts, craisins, hazelnuts, and Dijon mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside
- Carefully scrape out the acorn squash halves into another bowl, being careful to preserve the outer shell.
- Add 2 Tbs olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and mash the squash.
- Return the mashed squash to the acorn squash shells, leaving a large cavity in the center of each squash shell.
- Fill generously with the hazelnut and ancient grain mixture.
- Top with a few additional hazelnuts
- Put back in the oven for 20 minutes to warm, then serve
- Note: once assembled, the squash halves can be refrigerated and reheated later the same day or the next day.