Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wine and Food Pairing: Creamy Pasta and Viognier

Enjoy Food and Wine Pairing with The Paso Robles Wine Club
California’s Central Coast is one of the fastest growing wine regions in the state, primarily due to the Mediterranean climate typical of Paso Robles Wine Country. At The Paso Robles Wine Club, we chose wines to share with our wine club members from both bigger well-known wineries and those smaller boutique wineries. One of the benefits of joining The Paso Robles Wine Club is that the regular wine shipments include harder to find wines from the Paso Robles AVA, making it possible to enjoy great wines from the area with friends and family. Better yet, the opportunity pair these wines with foods for an incredible experience.

One of the wine varietals that does well on California’s Central Coast is Viognier (which is pronounced “vee-own-ya). Originating in the South of France, viogniers can either be light and lean or creamy with nuances of vanilla, nutmeg, honeysuckle, tangerine, and floral notes. Since this varietal does especially well in warm sunny regions, it’s perfectly suited to the weather in the Paso Robles Wine Country. The grapes do best in regions with cool nights, another win for the Central Coast.


A favorite of ours—Ranchero Cellars Viognier—the genius of winemaker Amy Butler. The Ranchero Cellars Viognier is herbal and floral with notes of green Jasmine tea, peach, apricot, and apple. This is the perfect wine to serve with a creamy pasta primavera. Here’s a recipe to get you started:

Vegetables:

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
1 cup bite-size broccoli pieces
1 whole red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces white mushrooms, washed and sliced
2 medium zucchini, sliced diagonally
1 medium summer squash, sliced diagonally

Sauce:

4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, diced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas
12 whole fresh basil leaves, chopped, plus more for serving
1 pound pasta (fettuccini), cooked according to package directions and drained

Directions:

For the vegetables:

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add the carrots and cook, about 1 minute. Then add the broccoli and cook, about 1 additional       minute.
3. Add the red peppers and cook, about 1 minute. Remove the vegetables from the skillet and set       aside.
4. To the skillet, add the butter and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and allow it to heat up.
5. Add the mushrooms, zucchini and squash and cook until the vegetables are starting to soften, 2    to 3 minutes.
6. Remove the vegetables from the skillet, add to the other vegetables and set aside.

For the sauce:

1. Add the garlic and onions to the skillet and cook until starting to turn translucent, about 2          minutes.

2. Next, pour in the chicken broth and wine and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen all the flavorful bits.

3. Cook the liquid for 3 to 4 minutes, allowing it to reduce by about half. Stir in the cream and Parmesan and allow the cheese to melt.

4. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

5. Add all the vegetables to the sauce along with the peas and basil. Stir to combine. If the sauce needs a little more liquid, splash a small amount of broth as needed.

6. Place the cooked pasta in a large serving bowl and pour all the contents of the skillet over the pasta.

7. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with extra basil and serve with extra Parmesan.

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