A Molise Sangiovese with a Sauce to Make as the Pasta Cooks #ItalianFWT

#ItalianFWT visits Molise
As we near the end of our 1st lap around Italy, our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group is exploring the unknown regions of Italy.  This month, we visit Molise. Long associated with its neighbor, Abruzzo, Molise was designated as a separate region in 1963. It shares some characteristics with Abruzzo, but also its other neighbors, Campania and Puglia. At least for Minneapolis, Molise wines are indeed rare.  I was able to find exactly one wine from Molise.

Molise Wine DOC's map courtesy of www.Italianwinnecenteral.com

Molise Wine DOC’s map courtesy of http://www.Italianwinecentral.com

A Quick Pasta Dish from Molise
Located in the central/southern part of Italy, a pasta dish from Molise is more likely to be made from pasta without any eggs, as eggs are a feature of the north. Ingredients for the sauce would also likely feature elements more commonly found in the south, like tomatoes and chard (or any vegetable). As is usually the case, we (in Minnesota) expand on the amount a bit to turn a normal “primo” course into our main dish.

Homemade Cavatelli and a quick pasta sauce, yum!

Homemade Cavatelli and a quick pasta sauce, yum!

Masseria Di Majo Norante
Founded in 1968, the Di Majo Norante estate cultivates more than 200 acres under vine in the Molise region. Their viticulture and winemaking practices seek to express the grapes and the land in an authentic fashion. The grape varieties in their vineyards are a blend of those traditionally grown in the area with grapes truly native to the region (autochthonous, my favorite new word this year!). They use organic practices in the vineyards, and their winemaking combines modern techniques such as temperature controlled stainless steel fermentation with traditional large oak casks for maturing the new wines.

This Sangiovese had a bit of iron in the flavor

This Sangiovese had a bit of iron in the flavor

Di Majo Norante Sangiovese IGT 2013 ($13 at France 44 Wine & Spirits)
Eye: Medium ruby color in the glass.
Nose: Not a shy nose, the wine aroma is immediate and clear. Blue fruit (blackberries), a bit of smoke, a bit of iron / pencil lead.
Mouth: Flavors start with iron/ pencil lead with black fruit immediately behind.   Lively acidity, medium + tannins.  The iron/pencil lead lingers in a nice finish. Even at $13, this is clearly an old world wine and an excellent value at that.

Cavatelli pasta dish with Di Majo Norante Sangiovese from Molis

The Sangiovese was a nice match with the dark greens of the kale and chard.

Wine Pairing Results
This pasta sauce is packed with earthy flavors: bacon, chard, kale, and tomatoes. Flavors this strong beg for an equally flavorful wine, and this Sangiovese provides that balance. The bacon, bitter greens and tomatoes demand it!

Molise Posts from Fellow Italian Food, Wine & Travel Enthusiasts
Here’s a preview and please join us for a live twitter chat this Saturday March 5th at 10am CST at #ItalianFWT.
Vino Travels – Di Majo Norante of Molise Rocks the Mediterranean
Culinary Adventures of Camilla – Risotto Agli Spinaci with a Montepulciano-Aglianico Blend
Rockin Red Blog – Molise: The Land of Gladiators
Food Wine Click – A Molise Sangiovese with a Sauce to Make as the Pasta Cooks
Cooking Chat – Molise Wine Surprise
The Wining Hour – Sausage and Tomato Herbed Foccacia with Ramitello Biferno di Molise
Enofylz Wine Blog – A Taste of Molise: Authentic Italy

Di Majo Norante Sangiovese and cavatelli with swiss chard tomato sauce

Cavatelli with Swiss Chard in Tomato Sauce

Adapted from “The Southern Italian Farmer’s Table“. Note this is a “prepare the sauce while the pasta water boils”.  Have all your ingredients prepped when you start to cook.

We used homemade cavatelli in our dish tonight. The recipe was from Jenn Louis’ book “Pasta by Hand“. Spend the afternoon making pasta, freeze a big bunch and enjoy fresh pasta for the next month or two. We love pulling homemade pasta out of the freezer and tossing it directly into boiling water!


  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped.
  • After prep, the chard and kale together should weigh 10-12 oz.
  • 1 – 28 oz. can of whole peeled plum tomatoes, chopped but undrained.
  • 1 lb. cavatelli pasta (homemade is great, but dry is fine, too)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmigiano Reggiano for grating at the table


  • Put a large pot of well salted water on the stove to boil
  • In a large frying pan or saucier, cook the bacon over medium heat
  • Add the EVOO and the garlic and saute briefly, less than a minute
  • Immediately add the chard and kale, add a pinch of salt
  • Cover and reduce the heat to low, turning the greens regularly to allow them to wilt, about 5-10 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook uncovered until the greens are tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Cook the cavatelli to the package directions, or 5-7 minutes if using fresh.
  • Remove the cavatelli when they are still al dente and reserve a bit of the pasta water
  • Mix the cavatelli into the Chard/Kale/Tomato sauce. If needed, add a bit of pasta water.
  • Grate Parmigiano Reggiano over the pasta and enjoy!

molise_italianFWT 20160213 18

21 Responses to “A Molise Sangiovese with a Sauce to Make as the Pasta Cooks #ItalianFWT”
  1. Cooking Chat says:

    I like the sounds of your pasta dish! And looks like we found the same wine…though I got my hands on three, I like the Sangiovese better than the other I have opened thus far.

  2. Haven’t had the sangiovese, but looks like Di Majo Norante was the winery of choice this go around. The cavatelli looks delicious!

  3. Looks delicious. Love the tip about making fresh pasta ahead of time and freezing it. The perfect project for a rainy day! Cheers!

  4. Jill Barth says:

    Homemade pasta, heavenly! Looks fantastic!

  5. Mmmm that pasta looks great. It seems that more oft than not, simple is best. I’ll definitely be making it! I dig the beaker for aerating wine. I keep intending to do that, but we’ve been gifted a few, so there really no “need” to buy one. Very cool though in my book!

  6. Wow the cavatelli looks so so delicious! I love the picture with the snow flakes in the background.

  7. culinarycam says:

    This looks fantastic, Jeff! I love that you found a Molise Sangiovese.

  8. TheWiningHour says:

    That pasta and sauce looks de-licious and easy to make. Clearly…one can never go wrong with a sangiovese either! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I have never tried my hand at making pasta. I am too scared. Your dish looks delicious, I can practically taste it with the wine. Nice job.

  10. I think I had this wine years and years ago, but nice to get a refresher on how it’s showing. Molise wines are somewhat of a rarity because there just isn’t very many available commercially here in the US. Lovely write up.

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  1. […] Food Wine Click – A Molise Sangiovese with a Sauce to Make as the Pasta Cooks Molise Wine Surprise […]

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