Wine Guy in the Kitchen

Simple dishes, fresh ingredients and the perfect wine!

By Michael Gallo, CSW, Store Manager, TOTAL WINE & MORE

With this month’s ‘Food Issue,’ I thought to chime in with a couple recent food and wine pairings. Where there is passion about wine, there too is often a would-be home chef lurking in the cellar.

First up, a savory dish of stuffed peppers paired with a beautiful Napa Valley Cabernet. No need to follow a recipe, this dish is simple enough. Starting with fresh mixed color large bell peppers cut in half; roast them in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes while you sauté some lean ground beef, diced onion, and mushrooms, adding salt, pepper and marinara sauce at the end of browning.

Spoon evenly into the pepper shells to finish baking another 30-40 minutes; remove the cooked stuffed peppers and sprinkle parsley flakes for garnish, and serve.

For the wine, pair this dish with the Titus Vineyards 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Titus Vineyards is a family-owned, family-farmed estate producing high-quality grapes for limited production, ultra-premium Napa Valley wines. The Titus story begins at the time when the California wine industry had yet to attain the global recognition it enjoys today. Production under the Titus label began in 1990 with a few hundred cases and has grown to a production of over 6,000 cases. Titus Vineyards is a partnership between two brothers, Eric and Philip Titus. Eric managers the vineyard operations and Philip oversees all aspects of the business side of wine. Titus Vineyards is a truly special, premium Napa Valley label.

Finally, an elegant pairing of Chablis with spaghetti alle Vongole, a classic Italian dish for sure, with just a couple of small tweaks on my end – adding chopped ripe cherry tomatoes and using a French Chablis instead of a classic Italian white wine like Pinot Grigio or Greco di Tufu. This dish cooks quickly, so be ready to put it all together without overcooking the pasta or under-cooking the clams and the chopped tomatoes.

Plan to have eight to ten fresh clams per person (cleaned and rinsed), good quality olive oil, sliced garlic, diced onions or shallots, parsley, chili flakes, and of course a quality dry white wine – the only ingredients you’ll need besides fresh or dried pasta. Like most dishes, ingredient preparation is key, so have everything ready to go before you start cooking.

Simply prepared, sauté diced onions, sliced garlic, chopped cherry tomatoes, and chili flakes in quality olive oil. Add the clams when the chopped items soften or brown, the add a half glass (or so) of quality dry white wine. Cover pot to steam cook clams until open, add ‘al dente’ cooked pasta and a little parsley, and serve country style!

Paired with my almost arterial creation, was the Laroche Chablis 2014, a deliciously crisp and mineral French white Burgundy wine. When served chilled with sautéed clams, one can almost feel the sea mist on their skin – enjoy!


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