Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wine Lover's Pantry

If you are like me, you try to enjoy your meals with a nice glass (or two) of wine. Certain ingredients bring out the various flavors in wine, such as notes of butter, cinnamon, clove, earth, and spice. These ingredients are handy to have on-hand at home for both quick, weeknight meals as well as for more elaborate occasions. Simple dishes, such as Whole Wheat Linguini with Cauliflower Sauce, and Caramelized Shallots (recipes follow), that incorporate these ingredients, work perfectly with a range of wines. Enjoy.

Always Have On Hand
Kosher salt
Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh lemons
Balsamic vinegar
Particularly Good with Red Wines
Dried thyme
Dried oregano
Dried rosemary
Magical Matches with Wine
Caramelized onions with chopped, fresh sage
Manchego cheese
Pine nuts
Corn (fresh, frozen - any variety)
Dates or figs wrapped in prosciutto

Whole Wheat Linguini with Cauliflower Sauce
1 pound whole-wheat linguini
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 head cauliflower, stem removed and chopped
3 cups chicken stock
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
1 pinch of dried thyme
1 cup grated Romano
8 ounces of Manchego
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 3 generous pinches of salt and pasta and cook to al dente. Drain. For the sauce, add the olive oil to a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 3 minutes, then remove (otherwise garlic may burn). Add onions and cook 5 minutes, and then add cauliflower, 1 cup of chicken stock and the rosemary and thyme. Cover the pan and cook 15 minutes. Uncover the sauce, add 1 to 2 cups of remaining chicken stock and mash the cauliflower with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher. Add the pasta and Romano cheese to the cauliflower and toss to combine. Season the dish with salt and pepper, grate the Manchego over the dish and serve.

Caramelized Shallots
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1.5 pounds fresh shallots, peeled, with roots intact
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in a large, ovenproof saute pan, add the shallots and sugar, and toss. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shallots start to brown. Add the vinegar, salt, and pepper and toss to coat well. Place the saute pan in the oven and roast for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the shallots, until they are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.


allan said...

wait, only a glass or two with dinner :)? The Linguini and Cauliflower recipe sounds really good...any idea what would happen if you swapped it the chicken stock with vegetable stock?

Leah said...

Hey Allan. Either type of stock will work, so by all means do the swap if you want to make the meal vegetarian friendly. You also can reserve 2 cups of the pasta water and use that instead of stock as well. See you soon - maybe in wine country next weekend? Leah