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!

A nice Meatless Monday meal

A nice Meatless Monday meal

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.

Podere Ruggeri Corsini makes two Barbera d'Alba's; either would work here.

Podere Ruggeri Corsini makes two Barbera d’Alba’s; either would work here.

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 outhazelnut_squash_barbera_20140226_34
  • 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 mustardhazelnut_squash_barbera_20140226_66
  • 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.

3 Responses to “Hazelnuts, Squash & Barbera d’Alba”
  1. TheSybarite says:

    Barbera is a personal favorite! Great tip on pairing it with a vegetarian meal.

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