Posts Tagged food and wine pairing

BLT Pasta

BLT PastaWe were lucky enough to be gifted this holiday season with a wonderful pasta called Pici (Thanks Robert & Mary!). This is similar to a thick spaghetti or Bucatini, but it includes the germ of the wheat – making it a big mouthful of nutty pasta-y goodness. I had so much fun trying to decide how to top the Pici. I wanted something that would be hearty enough to stand up to it, without overwhelming it. This pasta was inspired by a lunchtime BLT Sandwich. In this case, the Pancetta takes the place of the Bacon, Arugula Pesto takes the place of the Lettuce. And the tomato is roasted. The yummy, nutty pasta replaces a great whole grain bread. It’s super simple to make and delicious with Barbera! Enjoy.

BLT Pasta

Serve with Morovino 2013 Barbera

4 Roma Tomatoes halved lengthwise
1/2 lb Pancetta (a slab, not sliced)
4 C. Arugula (4 big handfuls)
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley (mostly leaves, not stems)
4 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus 1 t for drizzling
2 Garlic Cloves, roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 t. salt
9 ounces of Pici (or other hearty pasta)
1/4 c. shredded or shaved Asiago

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with sides (sometimes called a jelly roll pan) with parchment paper. Cut the slab of pancetta into 1/2″ish cubes. Scatter the pancetta cubes on the jelly roll pan. Place the tomato halves, cut side up, amongst the pancetta on the pan. Put into the oven for 30-35 minutes – stirring every 10 minutes or so to flip the pancetta cubes and the tomato pieces so they brown evenly. Cook the Pici (or pasta according to package directions).

In the bowl of your food processor, add the arugula, parsley, garlic, salt, olive oil and lemon juice. Pulse until smooth.

Drain the pasta and drizzle with th 1 t of olive oil to prevent sticking. Plate a nest of the pasta. Top with the Arugula Pesto. Add the roasted tomato and pancetta, then top with the shaved Asiago. Salty, tangy, nutty, hearty – perfect winter comfort pasta!

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Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore (For Kara and Tiffany)

For Kara and Tiffany – super easy and delicious.  Tiffany, if you want to use boneless thighs, reduce cooking time to 4 hours!  Enjoy ladies!

1 ½ lb skinless chicken thighs
1 large onion, chopped
2 t. salt
1 t. freshly cracked ground pepper or more, to taste
1 large red bell pepper (green or yellow work great too, get what’s on sale)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 C. Morovino ’09 Barbera
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
¼ C. diced sundried tomatoes (packed in oil, or water, or dried—it’s all good!)
3 T capers, drained (but only if you like capers—use sliced black olives if you don’t)
1 ½ t. dried oregano
¼ C. fresh basil leaves, chopped or chiffonade (sliced real thin)
1 lemon, very, very, very thinly sliced

Combine everything except the basil and the capers in your slow cooker. If you are always pressed for time in the morning, like Mrs. Vino (who likes to sleep in), you can combine everthing except the chicken, Barbera and tomatoes in the slow cooker the night before. Just put the insert (covered) in the fridge. Add the chicken, Barbera and tomatoes as you fly out the door on the way to work! Once everything is in the slow cooker, turn it on low and let it cook 6-8 hours, depending on how long your work day is! When you get home, dish up the chicken cacciatore and top with a few capers and a bit of chopped basil leaves. Serve this with a the rest of the 09 Barbera and a crusty loaf of French bread. Or, serve over Mrs. Vino’s baked Polenta (check the “sides” category). Divine.

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Pumpkin Hummus

Serve with Morovino dry Pinot Grigio or Barbera.

Super easy and super delicious.  Also a great multi tasker.  You can use fresh roasted pumpkin, but I actually like the texture better when you use canned!

2 T. Tahini (sesame seed paste-find it in the Asian Food Isle)
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. olive oil
3/4 t. salt or to taste
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 15-ounce can pumpkin (NOT pie filling)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 T. fresh parsley, chopped

Add these ingredients (except Parsley) to your food processor and whirl around until smooth. Then add parsley and pulse a couple of times to incorporate. I put this in a pretty fall bowl and sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds on top of it. If you bought the roasted pumpkin seed oil for the Stilton and Pear Bruscetta, drizzle a bit on the top of this, too.  Serve with Pita chips.

Pumpkin Risotto made with leftover pumpkin hummus (topped with a corn/avocado relish).

Pumpkin Risotto made with leftover pumpkin hummus (topped with a corn/avocado relish).

I usually double this recipe!   It’s Second Chance Cuisine option is to use it to finish a risotto. Just make your risotto as you normally do (recipes on this site). Then, instead of finishing with parmesan cheese, just before serving the risotto, add the 1/4 c. of pumpkin hummus and stir until incorporated. Top the risotto with toasted pumpkin seeds.


This dish has a Third Chance Cuisine Option, too.  Use your favorite premade cheese ravioli and use the pumpkin hummus as a sauce.  Just heat the hummus in a saucepan with a little milk or chicken broth to thin it.  Add a little fresh or dried sage for extra credit.  It’s kind of like an inside-out pumpkin ravioli.   De. Lish. Us.

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Rich’s Caponata (thanks, Dad!)

Many of you know that cooking wasn’t my mother’s passion. But my father came from a long line of wonderful cooks. In fact, it’s impossible for me to remember my father without thinking of food.  Because he was a typical 50’s dad, he didn’t end up in the kitchen much when we were kids, but he was the ultimate hunter/gatherer. He loved his vegetable garden – he grew the largest zucchini in town (I was 21 before I realized zucchini were only supposed to be 4-5″ long, not the 24-36″ size he loved). He was an avid fisherman. He introduced to clamming in Pismo Beach at a very early age!

Dad always told my mother that he was going to take over all cooking duties when he retired – something my mother completely supported. And he started collecting recipes from many different sources. He always told me he was going to write a cookbook for my brother, my sisters and me. Dad was absolutely in love with bizarre ingredients. Today, he’d rival Andrew Zimmern and have his own show on the cooking or travel channels.

Unfortunately, Dad never made it to retirement. A few months after his passing, when we were putting away some of his belongings, I found his file of recipes. I laughed and cried my way through his folder of “Hot recipes from Sumatra” and his folder on “Tripe and other organ meats.” That year, I compiled the cookbook he was never able to complete and gave it to my family. “Rich’s Recipes” was a huge hit, although I don’t think my siblings actually prepared many of the recipes in there. Me? I take after my dad. I worked my way through most of “Tripe and other organ meats,” but I did put my foot down on the Sumatran recipes.

Here is one of my favorites from his cookbook: Eggplant Caponata. Miss you, Dad.
RICH’S CAPONATA Pair with Morovino Barbera or Dolcetto

2 medium eggplant, stems trimmed
2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
2 large red, yellow or green bell peppers
1 large onion
2 large ripe plum tomatoes, seeded
½ c. red wine vinegar
2 t. sugar
1 bay leaf
½ c. green olives stuffed with sundried tomatoes (or other green or black olive-stuffed is better)
¼ c. olive oil
1 ½ t. salt
1 bulb garlic, cloves peeled, but whole
1 large bulb fennel (optional, but it really adds to the dish)

Fire up the oven to 400 degrees and let it preheat. Cut eggplant into 1” cubes. Place in a colander with 1 ½ t. salt. Let stand for 20 minutes to draw off the liquid, rinse lightly, drain and pat dry with paper towels. Cut zucchini into 1” cubes. Cut red pepper into 1” cubes (notice a trend here?). Cut the fennel into (say it with me) 1” dice. Cut the onion into large dice. Place all cut veggies into an 11 x 17” roasting pan.  In a blender, food processor or big measuring cup with your stick blender, whirl the tomatoes, vinegar and sugar until smooth. Add the tomato mixture, the olives, the garlic and the bay leaf to the veggies. Drizzle on the olive oil and stir well to coat.

Put the roasting pan with the veggies et. al. Into the oven. Pop your favorite movie into the DVD player, cuz these guys are gonna roast for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Stir every half an hour or so – when you get up to get a glass of wine! The caponata is ready when the veggies are very soft and most of the liquid is evaporated. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

You can make this dish ahead – cover and chill it for up to a week. How to use it?? As an appetizer with garlic toast (ummmmm). As a vegetable, either warm, chilled or room temperature. Or, in my classic family tradition, spread a big dollop between two pieces of rye bread, top with Asiago cheese and eat it as a sandwich!

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Red Wine Poached Chorizo

Make and serve with a bold dry red like Morovino Red Sun.

2 4-ounce pieces of Chorizo (dry Spanish Chorizo works best)
1 bottle dry red wine (like Morovino Red Sun)
7 garlic cloves
4 bay leaves
¼ t. red pepper flakes

Combine all the ingredients in a deep skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer Chorizo to a cutting board and slice diagonally to ½” thick. Place slices in a shallow serving bowl and cover with 1 cup of hot poaching liquid. NOTE, this holds really well on a buffet if you put it in a small crock pot to keep warm.

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Truffled Popcorn

This is the easiest, most delicious recipe Mrs. Vino has for an appetizer!

Serve with a dry Morovino Pinot Grigio or other crisp wine.

1 bag butter flavored microwave popcorn
3T truffle oil (white or black)
½ t. truffle salt
Additional melted butter – if desired

Pop popcorn. While it is warm, drizzle with additional melted butter, truffle oil and truffle salt. Great with crisp white wines or sparkling wines.

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Onions in Parmesan Basil Butter

Serve with Sangiovese or Barbera

2 14-ounce bags frozen pearl onions
4 T butter, diced into small cubes
½ cup chopped Basil leaves (or your favorite premade pesto)
½ cup parmesan cheese
½ cup diced sundried tomatoes
Salt & Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients except parmesan and salt and pepper in a microwave safe shallow bowl. Microwave on high until onions are hot, stirring once or twice (total of 10-12 minutes). Remove from microwave and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve with cocktail picks. OR, warm up some pocket bread in the microwave, quarter it and let guests put 3 or so onions in a quarter of pocket bread.

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Quick and Easy Leftover Steak Salad

Serve with Morovino Barbera.

This is a great 10 minute main course salad for those days when you DON’T have 30 minutes to prepare a meal, but you DO have leftover steak.  This is one of Mrs. Vino’s favorite uses for left over flank steak.

1 large head of butter lettuce (or 1 bag of your favorite salad mix-Mrs. Vino is a practical woman!)
2 ripe tomatoes
2 green onions
2 ribs celery
1 can hearts of palm (if you like them)
8 baby portabella mushrooms, sliced (button mushrooms OK, too)
8 thin slices of left over grilled steak (Flank Steak, New York or whatever you have)
¼ c. (1 small can) sliced black or green olives
¼ c. crumbled bleu cheese
Your favorite Italian Salad Dressing (I like Newman’s Light Italian)

Next time you grill steak, put an extra one on the barbecue! Then refrigerate or freeze until you need a quick, hearty meal. Wash the lettuce and tear into small pieces (or, if you have been working all day, dump the bag of lettuce in a bowl). Chop the tomatoes, slice the onions, mushrooms, celery and hearts of palm and dump them into the bowl. Add the olives and the cheese. Warm the steak up in the microwave for about 45 seconds (thaw it in the fridge first). Slice the steak thinly. Toss the salad with the dressing and put the sliced steak on top. Top with a bit more cheese if you like. Serve with ranch rolls or interesting artisan bread

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10 Minute Shrimp Salad

Pairs perfectly with Morovino Barbera (yes, I know that’s a red wine–rules are meant to be broken).

For those of you who have visited the tasting room – this is the salad that Mr. Vino talks about that demonstrated the power of the perfect food and wine pairing!

1 lb. Of the largest shrimp you can find (is that an oxymoron??). Mrs. Vino uses at least 15/20 count—and buys them pre-cleaned and flash frozen. As we’ve said before, Mrs. Vino appreciates a good shortcut. If using frozen shrimp, please thaw first (I know you already knew that).
¼ C. White wine vinegar (red wine vinegar is JUST as delicious)
3T. Soy Sauce
¼ C. (about one small handful) cilantro (wash it first, my dears)
3 cloves garlic, or 2 medium size spoonsfull of the crushed, jarred stuff
1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded, membranes removed, quartered (like really spicy food—feel free to use 2!)
1T sugar (no fake stuff)
1 red onion
5ish leaves of romaine lettuce, thinly sliced (yes, Mrs. Vino knows you aren’t supposed to cut lettuce—so sue her!)
¼ head of small red cabbage, thinly sliced
Your olive oil mister (Don’t have one? You should. Great cool tool.)

Preheat your broiler on high. Quick trick to clean the Jalapenos: cut them in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and the membranes. Do NOT scratch your nose or touch anything sensitive after handling Jalapenos—Learn from Mrs. Vino’s mistakes. Roughly chop the Jalapeno and put the Jalapeno, vinegar, soy sauce, cilantro, garlic, and sugar in a food processor—it actually fits in my mini-chopper, if you don’t want to get the big processor dirty. Process until finely chopped/smooth.

Place shrimp on a broiler pan and mist with olive oil. Grill until they turn pink and are just cooked through—turning them once—this will take about 4-6 minutes. While shrimp are grilling, slice lettuce and cabbage and dice onion. In a medium bowl, combine veggies and toss with about ¾ of the salad dressing. In a small bowl, toss shrimp with the remaining dressing. Pile the salad on your plate, pile the shrimp atop the salad. Pile forkfulls of this into your mouth—Absolutely delicious and sooooooo good for you. Serve with a nice whole wheat roll. And, a nice glass of Morovino  Barbera.

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Miso Soup with Soba Noodles

Serve with Morovino 2009 or 2011 Pinot Grigio.

Mrs. Vino loves soup.  Does that mean I’m getting old?  It’s just so comforting and warm and light and easy to prepare.  This is one of our favorites.  Enjoy!

1 package shitake mushrooms—these are usually about 3-4 ounces.
9 C. fat free chicken or vegetable broth
1 5” piece of fresh ginger—peeled (no substitutions, this makes the dish)
1 whole head (yes I said head) of garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat of your knife
3T yellow miso paste (or red or white–whatever miso you can find. You should be able to find this in the refrigerator/deli section of your grocery store.  If Central Coast grocery stores carry it – EVERYONE carries it)
1 14-ounce package of extra firm tofu drained and cubed
1 T dark sesame oil
1 T olive or vegetable oil
¼ t crushed red pepper flake
12 ounces buckwheat Soba noodles or 1 package whole wheat thin spaghetti or vermicelli or angel hair pasta (optional—if you are serious dieting, this soup doesn’t need them)
1 ½ C (about ½ head) of shredded napa cabbage
½ C shredded carrot (I get the bags, I’m waaaayyyy to busy to shred carrots)
½ C finely sliced green onions

Remove the icky woody stems from the mushrooms. Set them aside. Slice the mushroom caps into ¼” strips. Then set them aside. In a large pot, combine the broth, shitake stems (ONLY the stems), ginger and garlic. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the soup through a strainer into another pot—sorry, it’s a bit of a pain. Add Miso to strained broth and give it a good whisk in. Keep miso broth warm over low heat.

Back to the Shitake caps: heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced mushroom caps and red pepper flakes and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Add the mushroom mixture and the sesame oil to strained broth (they should simmer with the broth for at least 5 minutes. More is better. )

While the broth is simmering, chop the cabbage, open the bag of carrots, chop the green onions and dice the tofu. Boil some water and cook the noodles according to package directions.

Now, assemble: In cool little asian bowls (or big soup bowls, depending on how hungry you are), put a small handful of noodles (like 2/3 cup). I twirl noodles on a fork to make a little nest-looking pile. Pour 1 and ½ C of broth over the noodles (that’s about 3 ladles full). Top each bowl with a handful of cabbage, a couple of tablespoons of carrot, tofu and green onions—all to taste. Drizzle with a tiny bit of toasted sesame oil. HEAVEN. Makes great left overs. Just put the left over veggies and tofu into a little baggy. Take the soup to work in a Tupperware. Heat soup up. Add veggies and slurp away.

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