The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Pairings for a Healthy–but Happy–New Year

Posted on | January 13, 2011 | Written by Kerry-Jo Rizzo | No Comments

January is a month of renewal and rejuvenation.  We start to remember that  our health needs more constant attention and bodies need to move more often.  But how to make our quest for health jibe with our wine and foodie obsessions? Is there a way to combine decadent, gourmet foods and wine with a nutritional lifestyle? I like to think that I can take on the challenge of a foodie-health lifestyle and I have some wonderful pairings to prove it!

Here’s one dish I really like to make, a Winter Squash Risotto with Radicchio. Combining winter squash and risotto is a splendid, savory delight.  The natural sweetness of winter squash paired with the slightly bitter flavors of the radicchio make for a wonderful, warm dish for the season.  And at only 333 calories, this as an officially health-conscious dish.  Squash works beautifully with dry Riesling, specifically Frecciarossa’s 2008 Riesling Gli Orti.  Also, Champagne is never a poor choice for this celebratory dish.  I recommend Roger Coulon’s 2002 Brut Blanc de Noirs. It’s so crisp and delicious.

Milk-Fed Veal Chop Wrapped in Young Leeks is another homey, yet elegant healthy dish that I love making after the holiday season.  Although the recipe calls for crème fraîche, you can replace it with nonfat or low fat Greek yogurt. Veal is a perfect pairing for the Nebbiolo grape, and my best bets for pairing this dish would be the Cantalupo 2004 Ghemme and the Ada Nada 2000 Barbaresco Valeirano.

Another course I wouldn’t dream of going without would be dessert.  A light, healthy option I love would be Crème-Caramel Flan, and this one has less than 200 calories, paired with the Querciabella 1990 Orlando di Vin Santo Vin Santo.  This silky, light flan and its caramel richness is the perfect, complementary pairing for notes of dried apricot, candied orange and hazelnuts Querciabella’s dolce wine contains.   This is the last vintage of this particular Vin Santo, so be sure to pick one up before they are gone forever!

Hope–and enjoyment of food alongside a healthy lifestyle–isn’t lost.  We can always tweak ingredients and cut portions to make up for the treats and holidays throughout the year.  It’s a relief to remember that wine is the most calorie-friendly alcoholic beverage and contains cancer-fighting  antioxidants.  Go wine! In moderation!

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