Wine & Food Resolution 2015: Italy Deep Dive! #WinePW
Resolutions a Chore? Bah!
Losing weight, eating healthier, being a more courteous driver (a multi-year favorite of mine) blah blah blah… Why can’t resolutions be fun? My 2015 resolution started in late 2014 and will likely continue well into 2016, and I’m having fun with it. Maybe you’ll join me?
Resolution: Learn Italy in depth through a leisurely tour, studying the food and wine region by region.
In our recent travels, we have learned how fiercely “local” Italian culture is, with a great deal of pride in using products from the region. Even to the point of avoiding products from the next region, perhaps only 50 or 100 miles away! To learn Italy, one needs to learn regional Italy, all twenty regions. Coincidentally, a blogging friend Jen, starting a monthly blogging group with the same purpose: one Italian region per month. I joined in right away! Over the coming months, I’ll often be featuring a meal from the region we’re exploring, as long as it matches up with the monthly theme here on Wine Pairing Weekend.
Emilia-Romagna is the home of some of Italy’s best known gourmet foods: Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Balsamic Vinegar. Wine? Not so much, perhaps because it is overshadowed by it’s more famous neighbor to the south: Tuscany. Lambrusco is the most famous wine from Emilia-Romagna, but its reputation in the US is still trying to recover from the Riunite onslaught in the 70’s. Anyway, there are many interesting wines made in this region, you just have a look a little further to find them.
Butternut Squash Ravioli in Cornish Hen Ragù, Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Pancetta
Today’s dish and wines all come from Emilia-Romagna, a mini-visit to the region, if you will. Many of the pastas we are familiar with in the US come from this area, and ravioli is a good example. Sure, making handmade filled pasta takes a bit of time, but what a nice way to spend a cold winter afternoon.
Tre Monti is a winery located near the town of Romagna. Even though the two wines today are their basic wines, they are made from sustainably managed, estate grown grapes, and hand harvested. No shortcuts here!
Tre Monti Trebbiano di Romagna D.O.C. “Vigna Rio” 2012 ($15 at South Lyndale Liquors)
The Vigna Rio is 100% Trebbiano, 100% aged in stainless, no malolactic fermentation to retain freshness.
Eye: Clear, beautiful rich yellow. Seemed almost frizzante in the glass at first pour, but doesn’t taste fizzy at all.
Nose: Rich nose, but shy. A bit of beeswax, pears.
Mouth: Full body, nice acidity. A surprisingly nice wine for its modest price point. We enjoyed this wine a lot!
Tre Monti Sangiovese di Romagna D.O.C. Superiore “Campo di Mezzo” 2013 ($15 at South Lyndale Liquors)
This wine is 100% Sangiovese, aged in stainless steel.
Eye: Very purple, dark translucent edge but opaque center
Nose: Intensely candied red nose.
Mouth: Brightly acidic, hard to tell if the finish is tannic because the acidity is so strong, almost tart. The overall impression is vibrant bright red fruit.
Wine Pairing with Butternut Squash Ravioli
We enjoyed both wines with the meal, but we felt the Trebbiano was clearly the better pairing. With a full body yet bright acidity, it stood up to all the flavors and the richness of the pasta. The bright red fruit present in the Sangiovese just seemed a bit much in the presence of the lighter flavors of the dish.
Pasta Fresca: a Satisfying All-Afternoon Activity
Fresh pasta may not be the best idea on a weeknight unless you’ve done lots of prep or you like to eat late. If you don’t mind taking part of your weekend afternoon, however, you can have a lot of fun creating wonderful pasta from a mound of flour and some eggs. The results are well worth the effort! (click on any photo below to start the slide show)
Wine Pairing Weekend
This month’s theme for our #WinePW group is “your 2015 wine/food resolution”. Please take a look at my fellow bloggers resolutions for 2015. Looks like a fun year!
Sue from It’s Okay to Eat the Cupcake is pairing “Fiery Red & Icy White”.
Cindy of Grape Experience suggests starting the year with “Wine & Dine: Fontana Candida Terre de Grife 2012 Frascati & Slow Cooker Artichoke Dip”.
William of Wild For Washington Wine is giving us “ A Resolution for Greek Wine, A Recipe for Avogolemeno”.
Wendy from A Day on the Life of the Farm has a “New Year’s Wine Resolution of Prime Rib Roast with 2010 Cotes de Bourg”.
Don’t forget to join us for our Twitter Chat on Saturday, January 10th at 8 a.m. PST using hashtag #winePW.
Adapted from a recipe by Biba Caggiano from “Biba’s Taste of Italy” Officially, this would be a “primi”, or 1st course, but we made the brussels sprouts and enjoyed it as our dinner. Besides, it was already late enough! Ravioli Ingredients Instructions Cornish Hen Ragù Ingredients Instructions Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Pancetta Ingredients Instructions
Butternut Squash Ravioli in Cornish Hen Ragù
The original recipe recommends starting from the bird and proceeding with the steps below. I’d be very tempted to try the ragù with ground chicken in the future to save a bunch of steps. Still, it’s fun to do it from scratch when you have the time.
Adapted from a recipe by Biba Caggiano from “Biba’s Taste of Italy” Officially, this would be a “primi”, or 1st course, but we made the brussels sprouts and enjoyed it as our dinner. Besides, it was already late enough!
Cornish Hen Ragù
Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Pancetta