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

Spicy Italian Pork Cutlets

spicy-italian-porkINGREDIENTS:
•  ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
•  4 boneless pork chops, pounded to ½ inch thick
• salt and pepper to taste
• 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
• 1 large tomato, diced
• 1/3 cup chicken broth
• ½ cup dry white wine
• 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
• ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper, and quickly sear on both sides. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat, and saute the garlic about 30 seconds. Mix in the tomato, chicken broth, wine, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Return the pork chops to the skillet, and continue cooking 5 to 10 minutes, to an internal temperature of 145℉ degrees(63℃).   Serve pork with the tomato and broth mixture from the skillet.  Makes 4 servings.

Silky_StickerLuca_Bosio_ArneisLuca Bosio Vineyards
Roero Arneis
Piedmont, Italy

The Arneis grapes for this wine are grown in the Canale Village of the Roero region of Piedmont.  This area is in the Southeastern section, close to Turin, in the foothills of the Alps at 200-400 ft. above sea level.  The average vine is 20 years and they are grown in sandy soil, at a density of 5,000 plants per hectare.  After harvesting, the grapes spend 24 hours at low temperature in contact with the skin to increase complexities of the aromas.  They are then pressed and the must is fermented in temperature controlled steel tanks.  The wine spends five months on the lees and a final three months ageing in the bottle before shipping. This wine is a perfect accompaniment to white meats like chicken and pork, as well as fish and savory vegetable dishes.

“This wine is clean and bright with floral and tropical aromas.  The palate follows through with notes of pineapple, apricot and peach ending with a crisp and refreshing finish,” Luca Bosio, winemaker

Luca Bosio, winemaker

Luca Bosio, winemaker

Winemaker: Luca Bosio
Appellation: Roero, Piedmont, Italy
Varietal Blend:  100% Arneis
Analysis: 13% alcohol / volume

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