Chicken Parmigiana … Paired with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Pairing: Chicken Parmigiana Paired with a 2008 Farnese Opi Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane Riserva 

Food:  Chicken Parmigiana (also called Chicken Parmesan) is a well known Italian-American dish. Very simple to make. Slice a chicken breast in half to produce two thin filets. Dip each filet in some milk then dredge into some fresh breadcrumbs (mixed with salt, pepper, and grated parmesan cheese). Spray a shallow pan with some cooking oil and lay the breaded filets into it. Bake at 350F for about 10-15 minutes until almost done. Spoon some tomato sauce on the top of each filet, top with a mixture of ricotta cheese and grated mozzarella. Then sprinkle each filet with more parmesan cheese. Place the assembled filets under a broiler until brown on the top (about five minutes). Voila!

Note: The brown color of the penne in the photo below is from cooking the pasta in water that had previously been used to poach mushrooms. It adds yet another subtle flavor dimension to the dish that gets picked up by the wine.

Chicken Parmegiana & Multipulciano

 

Wine:  The Montepulciano grape is grown throughout central Italy, particularly in the Marche, Molise, and Abruzzo wine regions. The Abruzzo region is situated on the Adriatic coast of Italy. It is the Abruzzo region that many believe produces the finest expression of the Montepulciano grape. A confusing aspect of this grape/ wine, however, is that despite being named for the parish of Montepulciano in Tuscany, the Montepulciano grape is not grown or used in the famed Vino di Nobile Montepulciano which is made mostly from the Sangiovese grape. Weird.

 

Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

Tasting Notes:  A deep purple color, almost black (like Malbec). Aromas of blueberry, blackberry, and leather practically burst from the glass … wow! On the palate, one gets blueberry leather (if fruit leather comes in such a flavor), black currant, and a rich earthiness. Goes exceptionally well with the Chicken Parmigiana … the three cheeses seem to tease out the earthy elements of the wine. Decanting the wine for a full hour before dining really softened up the tannins and turned it into both a nice sipping wine and a perfect complement to the meal.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Chicken Parmigiana:  Chianti  Classico, Super Tuscan, Barbera d”Asti, Bardolino

Other Food That Pairs Well with  Montepulciano:  Pizza, Pasta with Meat Sauce, Salami, Baked Ham, Beef Stew

View Maps and Photos:  abruzzo wine region

A Source:  Prince Edward Island Liquor Control Commission

 

 

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Two-Cheese Pasta … with Chianti Classico

Pairing:  Two-Cheese Pasta Paired With 2010 Il Grigio da San Felice Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Food:  This dish’s full name is Penne with Tomatoes, Olives and Two Cheeses and first appeared in Bon Appetit magazine back in the late 70’s. It has been a favorite of ours for many, many years. The spiciness of the red hot pepper flakes, the saltiness of the brine-cured olives, and the creamy, out-of-the-ordinary flavor of the Havarti cheese all add up to a tasty and unique pasta-eating experience. And those flavors combine exceptionally well with the more traditional pasta ingredients of basil, garlic and parmesan cheese.

Three Cheese Pasta with Chianti Classico

Wine:  Chianti Classico is the longest established viticultural region in Chianti and part of the larger wine region called Tuscany.  The vineyards of Chianti Classico cover almost all of the land between the cities of Florence and Siena. And Sangiovese is the star of these vineyards. It is an iconic landscape recognizable to most anyone even with little more than a passing knowledge of Italy.  This area is the quintessential Italy. This San Felice blend is 80% Sangiovese and 20% other native grapes.

Il Grigio Chianti

Tasting Notes:  A dark, ruby red color. On the nose one gets a fragrant assortment of spices … mace, nutmeg and vanilla. A rich, diverse palette of flavors including sweet earth, chocolate and several layers of fruits … plum, black raspberry, and fig all wrapped in exquisite vanilla. And a warm, lingering finish of chocolate fig … is there such a flavor? Luscious … this is one of the finest Chianti Classicos we have ever tasted! The wine complements the two cheeses, and the olives bring out the sweet earth notes of the wine.

Other Foods That Pair Well with Chianti Classico:  Bolognese (Pasta with Meat Sauce), Pizza, Grilled Lamb or Steak, Lasagna

Other Wines That Pair Well with Two-Cheese Pasta:  Barbera, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Rioja

Read About:  https://www.chianti.com/wine/chianti-classico.html

A Source:  www.wine.com

A Lord of the Rings Celebration … with Sam’s Rabbit Stew

Pairing:  Samwise Gamgee’s Rabbit Stew paired with 2007 Barolo Rocche Costamagna Rocche dell-Annunziata

Background:  March 25 is a day of very special significance in the history of Middle Earth. It is the day the One Ring is destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom as told by J.R.R. Tolkien in his epic literary masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings (LOTR). This is a special book to our entire family … we’ve each read it multiple times, individually and together as a family.  So, we celebrate the book every year on this most important day in Middle Earth, March 25. We celebrate it by creating a meal composed of foods described in various parts of the story.

Lord of the Rings Books

Food:  This is a meal that Samwise Gamgee made for his master, Frodo Baggins, in Ithilien on the border of the Dark Lord’s fortress lands of Mordor. Their guide (and sympathetic villain), Gollum, has brought Sam a couple of freshly killed “conies” and Sam asks if he might go find him some “taters” for the stew. “What’s taters, precious?” is Gollum’s response. Sam never gets his taters, but we’ve added them to our stewing rabbit, along with some simple seasoning (salt, pepper, crushed herbs). Sam would be pleased. Sam and Frodo carried dried fruit and elvish honey cakes called “lembas” on their perilous journey to Mordor, so we’ve added them to the meal. Our version of lembas is a recipe for Lebkuchen that we make at Christmastime. We save out some of the cookies, unglazed, then freeze for eating at our LOTR meal.

LOTR Rabbit Stew

Wine:  Sam and Frodo didn’t drink any wine with this meal, but surely would have enjoyed this extraordinary Barolo to complement the rabbit and dried fruit. Barolo is a prized red wine made from the Nebbiolo grape grown in the Piedmont wine region of northwestern Italy. Some would say that this picturesque Piedmont area of Italy, surrounded on three sides by the Alps, is home to the finest wines and cuisine in all of Italy. And Barolo is the king of wines.

Barolo LOTR

Tasting Notes:  This pale ruby, almost transparent, red wine has a bouquet of red cherry, blueberry, and a hint of fig, combined with some more assertive tobacco and leather aromas. The palate wonderfully balances pleasant tannins with wild cherry, blueberry and leather. The wild cherry lingers on the long, long finish. A perfect complement to the simple flavors of the rabbit and dried fruits (apples, apricots, and cherries), and even the honey cakes. Very special.

Other Foods That Pair Well with This Barolo:  Truffles (or dishes made with truffle oil), Game (e.g., Venison), Beef (Braised or Stewed), Lamb Shanks, Mushroom Risotto.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Rabbit Stew:  Barbaresco, Bandol, Pinot Grig (Alsace) Chateauneuf-du-Pape (white or red).

Read About:  http://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-barolo

A Source:  www.wine.com