November Wine Club recipe pairing

Apple soup

APPLE SOUP WITH ROQUEFORT CROUTONS

INGREDIENTS:

• 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter
• 1 ¼ lbs. Red Delicious apples (about 3 large), peeled, cored and sliced
• 1 ¼ lbs. Granny Smith apples (about 3 large), peeled, cored, and sliced
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 5 cups chicken stock or canned broth
• 1 ½ cups whipping cream
• ¼ cup Calvados (apple brandy)
• salt and freshly ground pepper
• ½ Red Delicious apple, cored (unpeeled)
• ½ Granny Smith apple, cored (unpeeled)
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
• Roquefort Croutons

DIRECTIONS:
• Melt 4 tablespoons butter in heavy large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 ¼ pound red apples, 1 ¼ pounds Granny Smith apples, onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add stock and simmer until apples are very tender, about 25 minutes. Puree mixture in batches in blender or processor. Return puree to pan. Add cream and Calvados. Bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared one day ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate).
• Cut each apple half into 12 thin slices. Mix with lemon juice. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
•Bring soup to simmer over medium heat. Ladle into bowls. Top each bowl with 2 red apple slices and 2 Granny Smith apple slices. Sprinkle with chives. Serve with Roquefort croutons.

CROUTON INGREDIENTS:
• 4 bacon slices
• 18 1/4 inch-thick slices of French bread baguette
• 4 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

CROUTON DIRECTIONS:
• Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Cook bacon in heavy medium skillet until crisp.  Transfer to paper towels and drain.  Crumble bacon.  Arrange bread slices on heavy large backing sheet.  Bake until beginning to crisp, about 10 minutes.  Mix cheese and butter in processor until smooth.  Spread one side of each crouton with cheese mixture. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover croutons at an store at room temperature.
• Preheat broiler.  Broil croutons 5 inches from heat source until cheese bubbles, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon. Serve warm, plated next to soup or on top of soup.  © Recipe courtesy of Bon Appétit, Oct 1998

NOVEMBER WINE CLUB

Cortese Piedmont ItalySilky styleCa’ de Lion
Il Sognatore Cortese
Dell’ Alto Monferrato DOC
Piedmont, Italy

SILKY WINE STYLE

Ca’ de Lion was founded in 1871 by Luigi Ghione. The winery takes the name of the family ancestor, Leone Ghione (1655). Generations of expertise in Piedmont has elevated this artisanal producer to its highest level. Farming sustainably and naturally, the wines from this estate show a purity of flavor. The depth and nuance of the wine vibrates and speaks of the place where it comes from, in the hills of Canelli. Harvested by hand during the first week of September, vinification and maturing took place in stainless steel tanks. This wine has exotic and aromatic notes of jasmine, white peach, stone fruits and a touch of mint. In the mouth, the wine is bright with lemon-lime acidity and a refreshing finish. Serve chilled. Pairs well with antipasti, salads, seafood and lighter fare.

winemaker Silvio Ghione

Silvio Ghione, Winemaker

“Brilliant green tones, with perfume nose of a yellow and white fruits and herbs. On the palate, pleasant white wine, surrounded by a good freshness. Excellent as apéritif, with fish or meat dishes.” – Silvio Ghione, Winemaker

Winemaker: Silvio Ghione
Appellation: Piedmont, Italy
Varietal: 100% Cortese
Analysis: 12.0% alcohol / volume
Critical Acclaim: Reviewed and approved by Doug Frost, Master Sommelier and Master of Wine

Wine club logoJoin our WINE CLUB and enjoy these amazing wines and pairing recipes each month. Plus, you’ll receive 10% off all retail wine purchases, 4 free tasting tickets and special discounts to attend wine tasting events, classes and more!  Learn more >

 

Sweet Potato Ravioli November Wine Club Pairing Recipe

Sweet Potato RavioliSWEET POTATO RAVIOLI

RAVIOLI INGREDIENTS:
• 1 ½ pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
• 2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
• ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 48 square wonton wrappers
• 2 large egg whites, beaten until foamy

SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
• ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter
• 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
• chopped, toasted pecans (optional)

RAVIOLI DIRECTIONS:
• Pierce potatoes all over with fork. Cook potatoes in microwave on high until soft throughout, about 6 minutes per side. Cool slightly. Cut potatoes in half; scoop 2 packed cups potato flesh into large bowl. Mix in brown sugar and nutmeg. Season sweet potato filling with salt and pepper.
• Line large baking sheet with plastic wrap. Place one wonton wrapper on work surface. Using pastry brush, lightly brush wrapper with beaten egg whites. Place one tablespoon sweet potato filling in center of wrapper. Top with another wrapper. Press edges together to seal. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. (Can be made up to 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

SAUCE DIRECTIONS:
• Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Cook until butter begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Carefully mix in vinegar and thyme.
• Meanwhile, working in batches, cook ravioli in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, carefully transfer ravioli to hot butter sauce; spoon sauce over to coat ravioli. Transfer to plates. Sprinkle with pecans, if desired; serve immediately. © Recipe courtesy of Bon Appétit, Feb 2003

NOVEMBER WINE CLUB

Mellow style logoCa De Lion Wine BottleCa’ de Lion
Rosso Blend
Piedmont, Italy

MELLOW WINE STYLE

Founded in 1871 by Luigi Ghione, Ca’ de Lion winery takes its name from the family ancestor Leone Ghione (1655). Generations of expertise in Piedmont have elevated this artisanal producer to its highest level. Farming sustainably and naturally, the wines from this estate show a purity of flavor. The depth and nuance of the wine vibrates and speaks of the place where it comes from, in the Canelli hills. This vintage was hand-harvested in the middle of September and vinified traditionally in stainless steel tanks, then refined in bottle. It’s a spectacular, unique and indigenous blend. The wine is velvet in the mouth. Brilliant aromatics reveal layers of violet, fresh rose, luxardo cherry, and blackberry. Very light oak and lip-smacking acidity makes this a stellar wine that can be paired with a variety of foods. Serve with a light chill. The wine can be decanted 30 minutes prior to serving.

winemaker Silvio Ghione

Silvio Ghione, Winemaker

“Ruby color with orange tones. Lasting scent with airy perfume, rich with violet and rose. Rounded and very fresh on the palate, light and velvety tannins. Open and let breathe before serving, pairs well with game and cheese.” – Silvio Ghione, Winemaker

Winemaker: Silvio Ghione
Appellation: Piedmont, Italy
Varietal: 60% Ruché, 40% Pinot Nero
Analysis: 13% alcohol / volume
Critical Acclaim: 93pts Wine Enthusiast 2013; Reviewed and approved by Doug Frost, Master Sommelier and Master of Wine

Wine club logoJoin our WINE CLUB and enjoy these amazing wines and pairing recipes each month. Plus, you’ll receive 10% off all retail wine purchases, 4 free tasting tickets and special discounts to attend wine tasting events, classes and more!  Learn more >

 

Ca’ de Lion Piedmont Wine Pairing Recipe

AGNOLOTTI
(Piedmont traditional filled pasta)

Legend has it that agnolotti was invented in Piedmont to celebrate the end of a siege. The celebration meal was creatively prepared by chef Angelot, at the request of the Marquis.

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 lb lean beef
• 7 oz spinach, boiled
• 1 onion
• 3 ½ oz butter
• 1 sprig rosemary
• 1 clove of garlic
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 3 tablespoons tomato sauce
• broth to taste
• grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to taste
• nutmeg to taste
• 1 lb all-purpose flour• 5 eggs• salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
• Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 oz of butter. After butter has melted, add peeled garlic clove and thinly sliced onion. As soon as they start to brown, add the meat and turn heat down to low. Brown the meat on all sides, then dust with 1 tbsp flour. Season with salt, add tomato sauce and enough broth to completely cover the meat. Cook over low heat until the meat is soft, but not falling apart. Then, remove the pan from the heat.
• Remove the meat from the sauce and set the sauce aside for later. Chop the meat in a food processor with the spinach (previously blanched for a couple of minutes in boiling water and well drained.) Transfer the chopped meat and spinach to a bowl and stir in an egg yolk, a generous amount of grated Parmigiano Reggiano, a pinch of pepper and a dusting of nutmeg.
• Then prepare the pasta dough by forming a well with the flour. Add 4 eggs and the remaining egg white to the center and begin incorporating the flour. Add a drop of water if necessary. Knead until you have a smooth dough. Let the dough rest for 20 minute, covered with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
• Using a rolling pin or pasta machine, roll out the dough into two thin sheets. On the first sheet place a tbsp of pasta stuffing 1 ½ to 2 inches from one another. Cover with the other sheet and squeeze the dough around the filling to remove any air. Use a pasta cutter or knife blade to cut out the agnolotti.
• Cook the agnolotti in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Then remove using a slotted spoon and toss with the previously prepared sauce, reheated for a couple of minutes. Also add the remaining melted butter and a good amount of grated cheese. Serve hot.  © Photo and recipe courtesy of Academia Barilla

NOVEMBER WINE CLUB

Bold wine Style logoLaCua-Piedmont_italy-wine-bottleCa’ de Lion
La Cùa
Langhe Rosso DOC
Piedmont, Italy

BOLD WINE STYLE

Founded in 1871 by Luigi Ghione, Ca’ de Lion winery takes its name from family ancestry Leone Ghione (1655). Generations of expertise in Piedmont have elevated this artisanal producer to its highest level. Farming sustainably and naturally, the wines from this estate show a purity of flavor. The depth and nuance of the wine vibrates and speaks of the place where it comes from, in the hills of Canelli. The name “Langhe” is the plural form of langa, a local word for a long, low-lying hill. Since its designation, the Langhe DOC has gained considerable marks for its innovative viticulture and use of international varietals. This creativity has allowed local winemakers to produce a new generation of high quality wines. This wine has violet and rose notes with a black cherry fruity taste. Electric balance between acidity and freshness, with smooth, elegant tannins.

winemaker Silvio Ghione

Silvio Ghione, Winemaker

“Ruby red color with violet and rose notes with a fruity taste. Good balance between alcohol and freshness, the tannins are elegant. Wine for the entire meal, perfect with first courses like ravioli and gravy, red meat or aged cheese.” – Silvio Ghione, Winemaker

Winemaker: Silvio Ghione
Appellation: Piedmont, Italy
Varietal: 40% Barbera, 40% Nebbiolo, 20% Dolcetto
Analysis: 13.5% alcohol / volume
Critical Acclaim: Reviewed and approved by Doug Frost, Master Sommelier and Master of Wine

Wine club logoJoin our WINE CLUB and enjoy these amazing wines and pairing recipes each month. Plus, you’ll receive 10% off all retail wine purchases, 4 free tasting tickets and special discounts to attend wine tasting events, classes and more!  Learn more >

 

Lasagna Pairing Recipe

lasagnaINGREDIENTS:
• ½ lb lean ground beef
• ½ lb ground veal
• ½ lb ground pork
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 Tbsp oregano
• 1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, drained
• 1 28-oz can whole tomatoes with juice
• 2 eggs
• 16 oz cottage cheese
• 15 oz ricotta cheese
• ½ cup parmesan cheese
• 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
• 19-oz package no boiling required lasagna noodles

DIRECTIONS:
• Preheat oven to 350℉.
• In a large skillet, brown ground beef, veal and pork. Add minced garlic and oregano and stir.
• Place canned tomatoes in food processor and pulse until tomatoes are thoroughly chopped; reserve 2 cups, place remainder in skillet with the meat and stir. Remove from heat and set aside.
• In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Stir in cottage, ricotta and parmesan cheeses. Set aside.
• Spread 1 cup of reserved tomatoes in the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Layer 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, ½ cottage cheese mixture, ½ meat sauce, and 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese. Repeat layering finishing with a layer of noodles. Add the remaining 1 cup of tomatoes. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, and top with remaining cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8-12
•Enjoy with a glass of Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Barbera. Recipe compliments of Jacuzzi Family Vineyards.

Mellow style logoJacuzzi Barbera bottleDECEMBER WINE CLUB
Jacuzzi Family Vineyards
Barbera
Amador County, California
MELLOW STYLE

The Barbera varietal comes from the hills of northern Italy’s Piedmonte region, where it has been grown since the 13th century. During the 1800s and 1900s, Italian immigrants introduced the varietal to the Americas, most notably in Argentina and California. The grapes are known for their deep color and softer tannins. The fruit for this Barbera comes from Rancho Victoria nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, in the northern part of Amador County. The soils here are sandy clay loam derived from decomposed granite. This provides abundant nutrients and water retention for healthy, strong vines. The grapes were handpicked and destemmed without crushing the berries. This gentle approach minimizes the pick-up of bitter components from the skins and seeds. The wine was racked to oak, and aged for 12 months on 35% new French medium toasted oak.

“This Barbera has freshness and clarity. Bright cherry and raspberry fruit dominate with an underlying savoriness which compliments the elegant palate and clean finish.”. – Charlie Tsegeletos, winemaker

Winemaker: Charlie Tsegeletos
Appellation: Amador County, California
Varietal Blend:  90% Barbera, 10% Alicante Bouschet
Analysis: 14.0% alcohol / volume
Critical Acclaim: Reviewed and approved by Doug Frost, Master Sommelier and Master of Wine

Antinori Winery Spotlight

November Tasting Event

Over 600 years in the making!

Let’s Taste, Learn and Enjoy® these amazing Italian wines —  limited seating, RSVP soon!

Antinori Family in wine cellar

Antinori Family

Since 1385, the Antinori family has been committed to the art of winemaking.  Over 600 hundred years ago, Giovanni di Piero Antinori became a member of the “Arte Fiorentina dei Vinattieri”, the Florentine Winemakers’ Guild.  For twenty-six generations, the Antinori family has managed the business directly making innovative and sometimes bold decisions while upholding the utmost respect for traditions and the environment.

ANTINORI WINERY, ITALY

Each vintage and each plot of land is a new pursuit for achieving higher quality standards for Antinori. As Marchese Piero loves to say: “Ancient family roots play an important part in our philosophy but they have never hindered our innovative spirit.

ANCIENT FAMILY ROOTS

The family’s historical heritage lies in their estates in Tuscany and Umbria, however over the years they have invested in many other areas, both in Italy and abroad.  They are well-known for producing high quality wine, opening up new opportunities to appreciate and develop unique new terroirs with great winemaking potential.

Research and development has been an ongoing process for the family, such as selecting new clones of local and international varieties, experimenting with new techniques in the vineyards and vineyard altitudes and new approaches to fermentation and temperature control. They also experiment with traditional and innovative winemaking philosophies, using new types of oak for barrels, barrel size and age, and varying length of aging in the bottle before commercial release.

Antinori family walking in vineyards

We have demonstrated, over the years, that in Tuscany and in Umbria there was the possibility of producing excellent wines, widely recognized at an international level, which showed both elegance and finesse while maintaining their original character.  One of our main strengths is the fact that we are Tuscan or, if you prefer, our fundamentally Tuscan character”, says Piero Antinori.

Peppoli Chianti Classico wine bottle

 

Reserve your seat to experience this historic winery!

ANTINORI WINERY, ITALY

November’s Winery Spotlight Tasting

Limited Seating Available

Antinori vineyards

October Wine Club pairing recipe

This wine loves Italian food, what can we say? Homemade pizza with mozzarella and salsiccia, or a plate of pasta piled high with meat sauce. Dark cherry, blackberry and plum aromas abound tempered with chocolate, spices and Tuscan herbs, Nesios Toscana, has the elegance of Sangiovese with the force of Cabernet and demands to be enjoyed with food like this classic lasagna.

go to lasagna dishClassic Lasagna Dish

SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage (sweet or hot), casings removed
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz. can whole, crushed tomatoes

ASSEMBLY INGREDIENTS:

  • Kosher salt
  • 5 lbs. fresh mozzarella, grates or shredded
  • 16 oz. whole milk ricotta
  • 1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling on top
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb. dried lasagna noodles (avoid the no-boil variety)
  • Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. For the sauce: Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over a medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes until brown but not crisp.
  2. Add onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for eight to ten minutes until the onion is softened and translucent.
  3. Add tomato paste and stir for two minutes until it’s turned deep, brick red, tinting the oil and onions.
  4. Using your hands, crush the whole tomatoes into bite-size pieces and add them and the crushed tomatoes, stirring to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pot. Fill one of the tomato cans halfway with water and add it to the pot. Season with salt and pepper then let it simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the flavors come together.
  5. Make the lasagna: Heat the oven to 375°F and set a large pot of salted water to boil.
  6. Set aside one 1 cup of mozzarella. In a medium bowl, combine remaining mozzarella, ricotta, 1 cup of Parmesan and cream. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  7. Cook lasagna noodles in the large pot of salted boiling water before they’re al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain and separate any noodles that are sticking together, add a little olive oil to prevent further sticking.
  8. Spoon a bit of sauce on the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish and top with a layer of noodles, avoiding heavy overlap.
  9. Top with 1 ¼ cups of sauce then dollop ¼ of the cheese mixture on top. Top with another layer of noodles and repeat three times, ending with the last of the noodles and last of the sauce. Top with your reserved 1 cup of mozzarella and more Parmesan.
  10. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and place baking dish on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  11. Bake until pasta is completely tender and cooked through and sauce is bubbling around the edges, typically 30-40 minutes.
  12. Remove foil and increase temperature to 450°F. Continue to bake for another final 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown on top.

Nesios Tuscany wine bottleBold wine Style logoCorte de Medicea
Nesios
Toscana Rosso IGT
Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany is home to Italy’s most famous IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) category. Sangiovese is the all-star of Tuscany, that derives its name from Latin as ‘the blood of Jupiter (Jove)’, the most widely planted grape in Italy. The hot, dry climate in Tuscany provides an excellent home for this thin-skinned grape, producing a rich and long-standing wine. It’s known for being fruity and naturally acidic and best enjoyed with the excellent cuisine of Italy.

During the 1970s, the term ‘Super Tuscan’ emerged, as result of frustrations of winemakers towards the slow-changing wine laws in Italy which prohibited the blending of non-indigenous grapes. In 1992, IGT was finally created, allowing winemakers to be more creative. An IGT Toscana guarantees that at least 85% of the fruit was sourced from the region. Half Sangiovese and Cabernet, this Super Tuscan pairs well with Italian food, fresh cheese, grilled cheese and pizza.

Andrea Bernardini“Deep ruby red in color. Spices, chocolate blended with blackberry, plums and mature cherry on the nose. Full-bodied and harmonic, structured with enticing and velvet softness. Elegant finish.” – Andrea Bernardi, winemaker

Winemaker: Andrea Bernardini
Appellation: Tuscany, Italy
Varietal Blend:  50% Sangiovese, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon
Analysis: 13.5% alcohol / volume
Critical Acclaim: 96 pts The Best Italian Wines, Luca Maroni 2017/2018

December Wine Club pairing recipe

Roast Pork Loin with Rosemary & Garlic

roast pork loin rosemary with garlic imageINGREDIENTS:
• 8 garlic cloves
• ¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus more
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 four-pound boneless pork loin
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 2 cups dry white wine

DIRECTIONS:
• Preheat oven to 400° F. Finely chop garlic and rosemary with ½ teaspoon salt on a cutting board. Holding knife at an angle, drag blade over mixture until a coarse paste forms. Transfer paste to a small bowl and mix in oil.
• Place pork, fat side down, on another cutting board with a short end toward you. Holding a sharp knife parallel to board and about ½ inch up side of loin, make an incision along entire length of one side. Continue cutting, lifting meat with your free hand as you go, until loin is open and flat (or ask butcher for butterfly cut). Spread garlic mixture over inside of loin and season with salt and pepper. Roll pork tightly; using kitchen twine, tie at 1 inch intervals.
•Season pork with salt and pepper; place, fat side up, in a large shallow baking dish. Add wine; roast pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of loin registers 145° F, 1 ½ –2 hours. Transfer to a carving board; let rest at least 10 minutes.
• Spoon fat from surface of pan juices; discard. Slice pork; serve with pan juices.
PREPARE AHEAD: Pork can be stuffed and tied 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before roasting. Recipe courtesy of Brunello Cucinelli Canteen in Solomeo, Italy via Bonappétit.com. © Photo by Julian Broad.

Santa Venere Speziale Rosso bottle wineMellow style logoSanta Venere
Speziale Rosso
Calabria, Italy

The site of the Santa Venere estate is a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea, and it is named after the stream of the same name that flows through the estate. Grapes here have always been cultivated in accordance with the strict dictates of organic agriculture, respecting the soil’s natural resources, characteristics and biodiversity. In the past, Marsigliana Nera grapes were frequently confused with Greco Nero (Black Greek), which is also harvested in Calabria. Grapes grown from the vineyard Speziale were harvested within the first ten days of September. Maturation was in stainless steel tanks for five months and in the bottle for two months.

Riccaro Cotarella winemaker“This purplish red wine is made from an ancient Calabria grape variety, Marsigliana Nera, and its crisp mouthfeel makes it ideal with shellfish and seafood, and also as a pre-dinner drink. Drink cold at a temperature of 55 degrees”. – Riccardo Cotarella, winemaker

Winemaker: Riccardo Cotarella
Appellation: Calabria, Italy
Varietal Blend:  100% Marsigliana Nera
Analysis: 12.0% alcohol / volume
Critical Acclaim: Reviewed and approved by Doug Frost, Master Sommelier and Master of Wine

August Wine Club pairing recipe

Hazelnut CakeTorta di Nocciole (Hazelnut Cake)

INGREDIENTS:
• 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted; OR 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil (see NOTES)
• 2 ¼ cups toasted, skinned hazelnuts, cooled (see NOTES)
• ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 packet lievito pane degli angeli or 2 teaspoons baking powder (see NOTES)
• 4 eggs, separated
• 1 cup sugar
• Pinch of fine salt
• Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
• Warm heavy cream sweetened with sugar (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
• Heat the oven to 350℉. Coat a 9-inch cake pan with about 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Place a round of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan and coat the parchment with butter. Set the remaining melted butter aside.
• Process the cooled toasted hazelnuts in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until they are finely ground. Take care not to let them get pasty. Transfer them to a bowl and stir in the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
• In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. The mixture will be very thick and cling to the whisk. Drizzle in the remaining melted butter (or melted butter and hazelnut oil, if using), a little at a time, whisking until the butter has been fully incorporated.
• Using a sturdy silicone spatula, stir the hazelnut-flour mixture into the egg yolk-butter mixture. It will be as thick as nut paste. This is fine.
• In a clean, stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Scoop about ½ of the egg whites into the bowl with the nut paste mixture and begin stirring and folding it in with the spatula. This will help to loosen the batter a bit. Add half of the remaining egg whites, folding rather than stirring them into the batter to prevent them from deflating too much (the batter will still be thick and sticky). Finally, add the last of the whites and continue folding until they are incorporated into the batter. The batter will be thick but spreadable. Scrape it into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.
• Bake the cake for 40 – 45 minutes, until puffed and browned on top and the center is no longer jiggling (a cake tester inserted in the center should come out clean). Be careful not to jostle the cake when you’re checking for doneness.  Transfer the cake to a cooling rack,in the pan for 30 minutes. Invert the cake onto a plate and peel off the parchment. Re-invert and let cool completely. Serve dusted with confectioners’ sugar and with warm sweetened cream for drizzling.
NOTES:  Hazelnut oil is not cheap, but an optional splurge to enhance the nut flavor of the cake.  To toast and skin hazelnuts: Heat the oven to 350℉. Spread the shelled nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, or until the skins have begun to crack. Wrap the hot nuts in a clean kitchen towel and let stand 1 minute. Roll the nuts back and forth in the towel to loosen and rub off the skins. Not all the skins will come off, which is fine. Let cool before processing. Lievito pane degli angeli is a vanilla-scented powdered leavening agent used in Italian baking. It’s sold in packets and found in most Italian groceries. You can substitute 2 teaspoons baking powder.

Luca_Bosio_Barbera_Alba_BottlemellowEgidio
Luca Bosio Vineyard
Barbera D’Alba
Piedmont, Italy

In the center of the Langhe, among the hills celebrated in Cesare Pavese’s poems, you can find Luca Bosio Vineyards winery, in a world where technology and rural tradition coexist. Egidio was the founder of the Bosio’s farm, father of the owner Valter, profound expert of the wines of that zone.  The grapes from this wine come from vineyards located in Santo Stefano Belbo and Alba Villages.  The average age of the vines is 40 years.  Grapes are pressed and the must is fermented in steel  tanks after a short period in contact with dry ice to increase complexity and aroma.  This wine is a perfect accompaniment to read meats, braised beef and pork, as well as an array of Italian cheeses, pastas and risotto.

Luca Bosio, winemaker

Luca Bosio, winemaker

“Ruby red in color, this Barbera exhibits aromas of red fruit chocolate and vanilla.  The aromas follow through the round and smooth palate. A well integrated wine with silky tannins leading to a smooth finish.” – Luca Bosio, winemaker

Winemaker: Luca Bosio
Appellation: Piedmont, Italy
Varietal Blend:  100% Barbera
Analysis: 14% alcohol / volume, 3.5 pH, 5.5 g/l TA
Critical Acclaim: Reviewed and approved by Doug Frost, Master Sommelier and Master of Wine

Giving thanks for Olianas Italian wine!

Cherry Corn Bread Stuffing

Cherry-stuffing-recipeINGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. frozen sweet cherries, thawed
  • 1 lb. sweet or hot Italian sausage (or turkey sausage)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  •  6 cups crumbled day old corn bread
  •  1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:Drain cherries in a sieve and press between several layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture and coarsely chop; set aside.

Remove sausage from the casings and crumble into a medium skillet.  Cook for 10 minutes or until no longer pink; drain excess fat.

Melt butter in a large skillet.  Add the onion and celery; cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft.  Mix together the sausage, vegetables and corn bread in a large bowl with the broth and rosemary.  Season to taste with pepper and fold in the cherries.  Makes enough stuffing for a 16 lbs. turkey.

Or transfer to a buttered 13” x 9” baking dish and bake at 375 °F for 45-60 minutes or until heated through and lightly browned on top.  Makes 12 servings.

Bold_stickerOlianas_Cannonau_NVOlianas
Cannonau
Cannonau di Sardegna DOC, Italy

Olianas is the first entirely Bio-integral winery. Over the years they have developed a new concept of ethical agriculture that is based on the protection of the environment as an essential prerequisite for the future. Olianas works their soils with cart horses, to improve the vitality of the soil and allow the plants to root in the deeper layers of the soil to ensure the longevity of the plants.  A young, fresh and lively wine, ideal with appetizers and main courses.

An explosion of small berries with hints of dark chocolate and tobacco, on the palate shows silky tannins and a good concentration, well-balanced by the pleasant acidity.” – Stefano Casadei, winemaker

winemaker-StefanoWinemaker: Stefano Casadei
Appellation: Cannonau di Sardengna DOC, Italy
Varietal: Cannonau
Analysis: 14% alc/vol
Aging: Partially aged in French oak barriques of second use for 5 months.  Rest aged in stainless steel for same period.

Tuscan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Thyme and Potatoes

shutterstock_203107033INGREDIENTS:
•  4 boneless chicken breasts
•  4 twigs of thyme
•  4 twigs of rosemary
•  2 cloves of garlic
•  3 medium sized potatoes
•  5 large carrots
•  Dash of salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Rub the chicken with thyme, rosemary and garlic, then salt and pepper.

Coat a roasting pan with oil, place the largely cut potato pieces in the bottom and arrange the chicken on top of the pieces.  Place chicken in oven cooking at 375 °F for about 40 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the oven when it has browned and keep it warm.

Peel and slice the carrots and partially boil in salted water for 2 minutes.  Drain and add carrots to the pan, cooking them in the natural juices from the chicken.

Cut up the chicken once it has cooled a bit and serve warm with the potatoes and carrots.  Top it off with a drizzle of the chicken’s natural juices.  Serves four people.  Recipe adapted from Gallo Winery.

Bold_stickerCasadei_sardinia_2013Casadei
Sardinia Blend
Isola dei Nuraghi IGT, Italy

Made from the best selection of Bovale, Carignano and Cannonau, the most representative varietals of Sardinia, this wine of great complexity, power and elegance is the flagship of Casadei’s  estate in the middle of the Mediterranean sea.  The result is superb grapes which magnificently express their terrior.  Like an orchestra conductor, the most difficult task is to find the perfect melody, blending these “natural talents.”

Casadei-winemaker“It has very appealing and intense aromas with notes of blackberry, blueberry and chocolate. On the palate it is dry but silky and mouth-filling, with a very long and pleasant aftertaste with hints of toasted coffee beans.” – Stefano Casadei, winemaker

Winemaker: Stefano Casadei
Appellation: Isola dei Nuraghi IGT, Italy
Varietal Blend:  50% Bovale, 50% Carignano + Cannonau
Analysis: 14% alc/vol
Aging: 12 months in new French oak barrels