Interregnum

A Few Hints on the Day Before Thanksgiving:

The Red Wines for tomorrow are Gamay and Pinot Noir, maybe a lighter Grenache.  Don’t annoy someone with god damn Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile which makes EVERYONE’S mouth taste like they just ate a tea bag. Go soft.  Gentle.  Gentler.  Beaujolais Village Cru.  2011 Morgon.  2009 Moulin-a-Vent.  Maybe a Grenache from north of Barcelona.  Yes.  That’s the spot.

The White Wines are Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris (avoid Grigio if you can), Gewurztraminer, perhaps. Honestly most white go, since a lotta guys will be drinking beers and the women will start drinking the wine the minute they start to ignore their kids, so whatever really, right ladies?  A nice blend, like Connundrum always works.

We got delivery tonight. Bobbo is baking pies and making some appetizers for tomorrow. He does a great raspberry baked brie and a crab dip.  Then again, doesn’t everyone.

The Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2012 is fantastic for under $10 a bottle. We have been getting it for between $9 and $10 and have been having a bottle or 2 every night. It is the time to indulge and it is a great year! Remember, this wine can ONLY be drank between Nov. 16th and Jan. 1st. The brave drink it to Jan. 15th. I am a brave man! Santé! A wonderful holiday to you, even if you don’t celebrate it.  In much of Aerica, It has turned into a time to celebrate friends and family, no matter how much you hate it!

Recipe for Committing a Mortal Sin #2 – Bobbo’s Greek Lamb Ragú

Bobbo’s Peloponnesian (that’s Greek!) Lamb Ragú

A recipe very close to my big fat Polish heart (Lamb!) — similar to a Bolognese sauce, but inspired by the international spirit of Newport, RI (greek, irish, italian, portuguese).  The recipe is an original:

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ cup chopped Vidalia onion
1 ½ cup chopped carrots
1 ½ cups chopped celery, including leafy green celery tops
5-10 cloves garlic (to your liking), minced
½ teaspoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons zahtar (if unavailable add dried thyme, basil and savory equaling 2 tablespoons)
2 lbs. ground lamb (if you can’t find ground lamb, use turkey or veal rather than beef and increase spices and wine by 10%)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 ½ cups dry red wine
1 or 2 28oz cans whole peeled Italian San Marzano tomatoes
Leaves from 6 ounces Greek oregano, chopped
Leaves from 6 ounces mint, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 lb. Rigatoni or other short pasta
2 tablespoons butter

Chop onions, carrots and celery into medium dice —about ¼ inch pieces—and keep separate.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to Dutch oven and heat over medium high heat.  Add chopped onions to pot: add salt and pepper, stir and reduce heat to medium. Sauté onions about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add chopped carrots to cooking onions and stir. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Continue to sauté another 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add chopped celery and continue sautéing another 5-10 minutes until the mixture is cooked but still firm. Add more olive oil and/or salt and pepper along the way, if needed (Note: I like to add a small amount of salt and pepper at each stage of the cooking process to bring out and layer flavors).  Push cooked vegetables to sides of pot, making a space in center of pan. Add remaining olive oil to center of pot, and add garlic. Sauté garlic for 2-3 minutes until aroma is released, then stir together with other vegetables in pot.

Add lamb to vegetable mixture. Mix well, breaking apart lamb to brown. Add zahtar and rosemary to mixture. Continue to cook over medium heat until lamb is thoroughly browned and liquids have evaporated. If too much grease, drain some off, but do make the mixture dry. Continue stirring another few minutes until you smell spice flavors being released. Stir in tomato paste. Raise heat to medium-high stirring occasionally and the mixture starts to caramelize on the bottom. Add red wine to mixture; stir and cook-off wine for 2-3 minutes. Mixture should be dense but not dry at this point.

Chop whole can of San Marzano tomatoes and add to ragu along with the juices from chopped tomatoes. (Note: I just squeeze and break apart the tomatoes in the pan using my hands to give it a more rustic look.) If mixture is too dry, add juice left over from tomato can. Add another can of tomatoes and juices if still too dry.

Continue cooking about 40-60 minutes until the tomatoes begin to breakdown and the color approaches a rich brick red.

While sauce is cooking, bring water to boil for pasta. Salt water. Add pasta about 20 minutes before sauce is ready.  At the same time (about 20 minutes before serving) add fresh chopped oregano and mint to sauce. Keep sauce on low heat until pasta is ready.

Cook pasta until desired tenderness. Drain pasta and mix with butter and 2 cups of sauce. Keep warm.  Serve buttered and sauced pasta in a warm bowl. Top with additional sauce and serve.

A spring mix salad with black olive tapenade dressing and garlic bread make a nice addition.

We usually have the Viu Manent Cabernet Sauvignon with it.  I am sure you will hear about that shortly.

Light candles. Enjoy!

 

I detest all my sins, except…Pasta Puttanesca

PASTA PUTTANESCA

Translated literally as “whore’s spaghetti”, this adaptation of a traditional Neapolitan recipe is a cheap, spicy dish originally intended for quick preparation.

1 lb. pasta, cooked al denté
1 lb. fresh ripe plum tomatoes, peeled (or canned)
12-18 black oil cured olives, pitted
8 flat anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried basil
8 large or 12 small basil leaves for garnish
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
4-5 large cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red hot pepper flakes
1 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley (flat not curly), minced
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms
salt and pepper, to taste
Prosciutto, pancetta OR lean salt pork* (if all three, call a cardiac physician immediately)

This sauce is prepared more quickly if all the ingredients are coarsely chopped in a food processor, but this may also be done by hand.

Sauté chopped onion in olive oil in butter until lightly colored. Add whole cloves of garlic and sauté until lightly golden and soft; mash the garlic into the olive oil using a fork.  If using prosciutto or other pork, add now and simmer sauce 5 minutes longer

Add chopped ingredients (except parsley and mushrooms) and simmer over medium low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the parsley and mushrooms halfway through the cooking.  Use fresh basil for garnish.

*Note: At the same time as mushrooms are added, taste the sauce. A little salt and pepper, lemon juice, red wine or balsamic vinegar, Marsala or other red wine, herbs such as rosemary, basil, oregano or thyme, or a little granulated garlic may be added, to your taste.

                     Pasta Puttanesca

This is always best with Linguine or Spaghetti, but actually works really well with Rigatoni.

OMG, I am heartily sorry, BUT….

Argiolas Costamolino 2010 Vermentino (Sardinia)

Vermentino Grapes

This light, crisp expression of the Vermentino grape comes from the hills above Caliguiri, Sardinia. Vermentino, a grape that comes with a number of synonyms (in Southern France it’s “Rolle” and in Corsica “Malvasoie de Corse”), is grown throughout the Western Mediterranean, with plantings in Northwestern Italy around Genoa – and, increasingly, coastal Tuscany; Provence and the Languedoc in France; Spain, and the Mediterranean islands Corsica and, of course, Sardinia.  Its history dates back at least 700 years, and grape historians debate whether it got its start in Northern Italy, Sardinia or Spain; certainly it was widely traded as far back as the 13th century, earning it a place of respect in the grape family tree on the basis of longevity alone.  It is a large leaved vine with big triangular shaped clusters of grapes.

Our lovely example today has straw yellow color with some extremely light green reflections.  The nose shows citrus, pear and a touch of honey, no doubt due to its partial malolactic fermentation and an obvious small amount of time on its lees.  On the palate the wine is zippy, crisp and lively.  The citrus flavors carry through with kefir lime and pineapple as well as other softer tropical fruits and some ripe Bosch pear which give this wine a lush soft mouthfeel.  Flavorful, crisp and lush are the three words to describe this baby.  We paired it with Pasta Putanesca with prosciutto.  The 2010 is becomming hard to find, and runs about $14 a bottle.  The 2011 is what you will find on shelves and seems to be priced lower, around $12 to $13 per bottle.  Just for the shear flexibility of this wine (yes, it make an AWESOME pour on its own on a cool autumn or cold winter afternoon!) I would rate it a 15+ (out of 20). I really recommend you trying to find it.

Coming up: , Pasta Putanesca recipe posting in a few hours to subscribers, Greek Lamb Ragu posting tomorrow, and Sunday before Sandy at Sharpe Hill Vineyards ^ Restaurant coming very soon!
My apologies for the lag in posting.  It was a Superstorm, or something like that! Also, I was out working them streets for the election.

Doing Penance

Le Grand Noir 2011 Pinot Noir (Limoux, France)

Last Years Label

Ok, had a totally sinful weekend at Sharpe Hill Vineyards & Winery & Restaurant & Favorite Place in the Northeast for me to go for an autumn afternoon.  More pictures soon.  RIght now I am sitting here, proud as punch of myself to have not engaged in the SubSin of Gluttony called Laute, expensive gluttony, actually purchasing a mixed case of wine for $141 which is $13 a bottle. So, let’s complete our penance and drink ’em up, eh?  Le Grand Noir 2011 Pinot Noir is full of fresh cherry pie and vanilla.  It contains about 14% Grenache.  It comes from south central France where we don’t usually get wine from.  It is a soft, silky drink with lots of delicious flavor and a luscious body, but no roughness.  It’s THAT bottle of red wine to sit and drink. Screw food.  Repent you bad bad sinner.  You know your wicked guilty.  Pour yourself another.  I have a dozen.  Island Spirits & Wines on Broadway in Newport has 20% off wine and liquor (I think – don’t qoute me) until October 31st.  With tax this wine was under $10.  Damn its good.  I will talk about our fantastic trip to Sharpe Hill this weekend tomorrow.

          Road to Sharpe Hill Vineyards

Mortal Sin #1

Everett Ridge 2009 Preston Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma)

 

One of the best locations in the world – the Preston Vineyards in the warm, rolling hills of the Dry Creek Valley.  Sauvignon Blanc grapes loving the sunny days and cool nights, many times touched by whisps of fog. Bottle that purely and organically.  Wait about (3) three years and change.  Stir in Wild Mushroom Lasagna with a Bechamel Sauce and some garlic bread and this becomes something beautiful.  The wine is a tease, no longer available in markets.  Somewhat waxy, dull floral nose (which increase citrus scents when it warms up) open on to a really nice combo of pink grapefruit, muskmelon and a hint of the same lime you find in the nose.  I would give it a 15. People who are on the Follow list currently or within 24 hours of this posting will be e-mailed the recipe for the Lasagna.  Oh, and its No-Boil.  Those that asked me and I assured them Bobbo cooks his own noodles, he looked at me, rolled his eyes, and said “as if.  This ain’t Top Chef…”

Wild Mushroom Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce and a thin crisp garlic bread; 2009 Everett Ridge Sauvignon Blanc