Pairing: Homemade Fettuccine al Funghi Paired with a 2016 Michele Chiario Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza Cipressi
Food: OMG!! There are some meals (food and wine together) that transcend even our highest expectations. This dish is one that falls in with that august company.
We are very fortunate indeed to live in a region where several different edible wild mushrooms grow in convenient, accessible places to us. Woodlands with mature oak and spruce growth, old apple orchards, open verge, even our lawn. Years ago we participated in a number of mushroom identification workshops led by very experienced mycologists. Even though we have several years of mushroom gathering under our belts, we still exercise caution when we’re out on a mushroom hunt, double checking for the telltale signs of familiar safe mushrooms, as well as signs identifying unsafe (aka, poisonous) ones. As the saying goes, “There are old mushroom hunters … there are bold mushroom hunters … but … there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.”
King Boletes and Bicolor Boletes are among our favorites and are the focus of this dish. Boletes are sliced, sautéed in butter, then add a little heavy cream and mascarpone cheese with some of the pasta cooking water. Stir in the cooked pasta with the mushrooms and sauce. Interestingly, the addition of cream in the recipe tells us it’s from northern Italy. Because of that, fresh pasta is better than dry pasta. And, the accompanying Barbera wine is also from northern Italy. What synergy!
Note: The fresh pasta is just a simple combination of a cup each of all-purpose flour and semolina mixed with an egg and kneaded. The resulting dough is then cranked through a pasta machine, or cut by hand. Place in boiling, salted water. Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta.
Wine: Barbera d’Asti is a subregion of the famed Piedmont wine region of northwestern Italy. Records show that Barbera, native to the Piedmont area, goes back to at least the early 1600’s. It boasts a world-wide popularity among wine drinkers and pairs beautifully with many classic Italian dishes, most notably, perhaps, pizza. Barbera d’Asti, not surprisingly, comes from the extensive acreage planted in the hills surrounding the town of Asti. It’s sister wine (so to speak), Barbera d’Alba, hails from the vineyards near Alba, to the northeast of Asti. The Nizza Cipressi area creates its own unique territorial identity within Barbera d’Asti.
Tasting Notes: A deep, deep maroon color. Almost black. Aromas of blackberry and blueberry with hints of sweet caramel, brown sugar and vanilla. The palate builds on the themes of blackberry, blueberry, caramel, and vanilla. Velvety and lush with slightly dusty, but perfectly soft tannins. Coats every corner of your mouth as the finish goes on and on. A nice mature wine, but with the youthful qualities of fresh berries. The stars aligned in this absolutely perfect pairing with the wild mushroom pasta.
Other Wines That Pair Well with Pasta and Wild Mushrooms: Pinot Noir (Oregon), Pomerol (Bordeaux, France), Barolo (Italy), Rioja (Spain)
Other Food That Pairs Well with Barbera d’Asti: Pizza, Pasta with Tomato Sauce, Grilled Chicken, Lamb, and Pork, Mushroom Risotto
More About Asti: Asti
A Source: www.wine.com