Hearty enough for a main dish, this recipe is packed with vegetables, grains and protein. It is also easily adapted for food allergies: dairy-free (omit the cheese), vegan/vegetarian, by omitting the cheese and/or sausage. Additionally, quinoa is typically regarded as “gluten-friendly”.
2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
3/4 cup quinoa
1/2 lb (about 2 links) of mild Italian sausage
1 1/3 cup vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
6 oz (1 pkg) baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese, grated finely
1 tbsp Italian herb seasoning
Salt & pepper
Pop open your bubbly and test it for quality: pour a glass— you deserve it, you savvy chef!
Heat the oven to 375*
Brush the cut side of the squash with olive oil, place cut down on roasting pans. Bake 45 minutes-1hour, until fork-tender.
Toast the walnuts and soak the raisins in 1 cup of hot water to re-hydrate.
Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add a sprinkle of olive oil and add onions and garlic. Next, add Italian sausage (if using links, remove from casing) and brown. Remove sausage mix from pan and set aside.
Add saucepan back to heat, add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add quinoa, Italian herbs, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Lower heat and simmer for 12 minutes. Add spinach to the pan and cook another 3 minutes. Drain off any excess water and fluff with fork.
Toss together quinoa mixture, sausage, golden raisins, and walnuts.
Once squash is cooked, remove from oven and preheat broiler.
Flip squash cut-side up, and mound quinoa mixture into the squash, packing lightly. Top each squash with 1/4 cup of shredded cheese.
Broil until golden brown (3-5 min), and serve.
Why this pairing works
Cannon River Winery’s Sparkling Edelweiss is aromatic, semi-dry, and snappy with acidity. Its slight sweetness plays alongside the golden raisins, and acidity cutting through the richness of the sausage. Its fruit-forward flavors (yellow apple skin, pear) balance the rustic quinoa and toasted walnuts. Should you be unable to get your hands on Sparkling Edelweiss, a Moscato d’Asti would also do nicely. Saluti!
This recipe was adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook, “Stuffed Acorn Squash”.