Langhe e Roero Primi: Tajarin al Sugo di Gorgonzola

Week 2 Challenge: L’ouvo e il Primo (Egg in the 1st Course)
We’re on to week 2 in this year’s food blogging/photography challenge from the Tourist Union of the Langhe and Roero (details here, in Italian).

Our week 2 challenge this year is to use eggs in a Primi course.  The natural choice here is pasta. Julie’s absolute favorite food from the Langhe & Roero is tajarin.  It’s a fresh pasta made with more eggs than usual.  How many eggs?  As many as the chef can fit!

Piemontese chefs vie for who can cram the most eggs into a single recipe of Tajarin!

Piemontese chefs vie for who can cram the most eggs into a single recipe of Tajarin!

A typical primi course would be tajarin dressed with sugo di carne, a meat sauce.  Wanting something authentic but a bit out of the ordinary, we landed on tajarin topped with gorgonzola cheese sauce.  Gorgonzola Dolce is very common in this area, and it makes a super rich, flavorful sauce.  Mild and creamy, it melts beautifully.  Sage and garlic in the sauce add additional complexity to the flavor.

Wine Pairing
A cream sauce would generally indicate a white wine, but what about the gorgonzola, would that be just too much?  We decided to try both a white and a red from one of our favorite wineries from this region, Trediberri. We chose a Barbera d’Alba for the red, and a Langhe Bianco which allows Sauvignon (Sauvignon Blanc).

How did the pairings go?  As you might expect, the white wine was the better pairing with the rich white sauce coating the pasta.  It had the body to stand up to the rich sauce and the acidity to cleanse the palate.  The Barbera was nice, it also had plenty of palate cleansing acidity, but the rich, bright red fruit seemed a bit out of place.  Not a bad pairing, and a good choice for a person who really only wants to drink red wine.

Barbera d’Alba
Barbera is probably the next most popular Piedmont wine after the Nebbiolo based Barolo, Barbaresco.  It offers rich, bright red fruit and high acidity, but low tannins.  It’s a great choice for anything with tomatoes (like the roasted cherry tomatoes we had with our pasta), like red sauces and pizza.  There are a variety of Barberas made in the Piedmont, generally noted by the name of the community: Barbera d’Asti, Barbera d’Alba, etc… I haven’t spent enough time to understand the style differences between them, a future project!

Trediberri Barbera d'Alba

Trediberri Barbera d’Alba

Trediberri Barbera d’Alba 2013 ($22, available in the US)
The Trediberri winery is small, and until this year, lacked any distribution in the US.  However, recently, a New York importer started bringing them in.  If you’re interested, you can find them by searching online, I can highly recommend all their wines, and you can buy this Barbera and their excellent Barolo online!  I recently bought both the Barbera d’Alba and Barolo via the Delectable app, which I can also recommend.

Eye: Beautiful garnet red, very slightly cloudy, purple at the edge.
Nose: Rich ripe red fruit, very typical Barbera on the nose.
Mouth: Red fruit with a bit of evergreen. Aged in cement and steel, this wine doesn’t have the oak influence of some Barberas.  This style is my personal preference for Barbera, as it retains a bit more freshness.


Langhe Bianco (Sauvignon)
Beyond the traditional and popular Arneis, there are a number of other interesting white grapes grown in this area.  Favorita, Sauvignon, even Riesling.  As a rule, you can count on them to be bone dry and crisp

Trediberri Langhe Sauvignon 2012

Trediberri Langhe Sauvignon 2012

Trediberri Sauvignon 2012 (10€ from the winery in La Morra)
Trediberri’s Sauvignon is quite different from your typical New Zealand or French Sauvignon Blanc.  It’s fermented by native yeasts and aged 6 months in a combination of stainless, concrete and old tonneau (large barrels).

Eye: Clear and bright, pale lemon yellow in color
Nose: Shy nose, a bit floral and saline.
Mouth: Medium body with bright acidity, the impression of salinity carries on in the flavor.  Mouthwatering finish.

Medium body & mouthwatering acidity, Trediberri Sauvignon was a nice pairing

Medium body with mouthwatering acidity, Trediberri Sauvignon was a nice pairing.

In case you’re interested, here’s how to make fresh pasta in 15 seconds!

Tajarin al Sugo di Gorgonzola (Tajarin in Gorgonzola Sauce

Note: This recipe is sized for the pasta as a primi course.

Wine Pairing: A medium body crisp white wine from the Langhe & Roero region, such as Trediberri Langhe Sauvignon.

Pasta Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs plus 4 large egg yolks
  • 285 gr. (10 oz. or 2 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt (for the pasta water)

Pasta Instructions

  • Mix the eggs into the flour until a just barely dry dough forms
  • Knead the dough for about 5 minutes
  • Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the dough rest.
  • After the dough has rested, cut into 4 pieces.
  • Run through pasta machine rollers into a thin dough.
  • Dust the dough with flour and let rest until it has dried out a bit, usually about 10-15 minutes
  • Cut the pasta into the width you like, depending on your pasta machine. The pasta should be narrower than tagliatelle.
  • Add a generous tablespoon of salt to a large pot of water and put on high to boil.
  • Start the sauce now!
  • This pasta will cook in 1 minute, so be ready to plate once you put the pasta in the boiling water.

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsps unsalted butter
  • 6-8 sage leaves, finely chopped, additional sage for garnish
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 240 ml (1/2 cup) heavy cream
  • 85grams (3 oz.) gorgonzola dolce
  • freshly ground black pepper

Sauce Instructions

  • This sauce comes together very quickly, you can start once you’ve put the pasta water on to boil
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low flame
  • Add the garlic and sage, cook for 3 minutes, being careful to not let the garlic brown
  • Add the cream, the gorgonzola cheese, and a bit of freshly ground black pepper
  • Stir the sauce while the gorgonzola melts.



10 Responses to “Langhe e Roero Primi: Tajarin al Sugo di Gorgonzola”
  1. arneis2013 says:

    I love your blog, Jeff. Lovely visuals, well organized and excellent information. Keep it up!

  2. Amazing photos as ever Jeff!

  3. talkavino says:

    Food looks great and wine sounds very good too. Home-made pasta still remains one of my last frontiers in cooking… One day, one day…

  4. Beautiful article: food, wine, photos. Well done!

  5. Beautiful photos. I’d love to make fresh pasta some day if I can find the time!

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