The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Making Old Man Winter Smile

Posted on | December 27, 2010 | Written by Francesco Vigorito | No Comments

Old man winter has once again reared his currently white and fluffy (but soon to be grey and slushy) head.  If you’re like me, you’re probably stuck in a house contemplating what to do, what to eat and, of course, what to drink.

Don’t despair–this is a great opportunity to raid the pantry and engage in some leftover cooking.  One of my favorite leftover dishes to create is a beautiful seafood linguini.  I like to take all of the leftover lobster tails, claws, shrimp, crab and make a very tasty sauce.

First, I remove all the shells and extract the succulent meat and fry this up with garlic and oil.  Once I get some nice aromas and some good juices flowing, I dump in a can of whole tomatoes and cook until everything is nicely integrated.  Of course, I add salt and pepper to taste, and a touch of red flakes to give it a zingy personality.  Right before serving, I like to add some fresh parsley and drizzle a little  high quality olive oil to bring everything together.

For a dish like this, I shoot for a white wine pairing. Anything from Sicily or Campania would work nicely. I’d probably reach for the COS Rami, or De Conciliis’s Greco di Tufo.

Not only does this type of weather warrant impromptu cooking, but it also prompts some impromptu drinking. And this, my friends, is Amarone season.  A warm, full-bodied and luscious style of wine is the perfect medicine in these frigid, icy and windy conditions.  Stoke that burning log in the fireplace, pour yourself a glass of Amarone, and you’ll begin to thank the current weather conditions rather than denegrate them.

If you happen have some Quintarelli around, now is time to pop the cork on that special bottle.  For example, the 1999 Rosso del Bepi is singing right now. Not as dense and concentrated as the 2000 Amarone, the 1999 will provide a very elegant and pretty expression of the style.  Since Amarone is an intensely flavored and textured wine, you’re going to need an equally intense food.  Look to pair this wine some stronger cheese like aged Parmigiano and some Gorgonzola drizzled with a little bit of honey or some fig mostarda (jam) to kind of round off the flavors.

If you’re like my family and cook a prime rib on Christmas day, you should have nice slabs of succulent meat left over.  I like to make a nice beef stew with the leftover meat, potatoes, etc and eat this with some Amarone.  Either way, if you’re busting out some Amarone, you’re sure to have a good time—no matter what the blizzard may bring.


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