It has been a good week. Last Friday I made an overnight trip to the island, to check in some guests at our summer home. It was a great excuse to visit my friend, Steve. That night he and I enjoyed some of his older wine from the cellar and had a fine dinner at Dune Restaurant. We were even able to bring our own bottle of wine, which worked out marvelously. The next morning we had a late snack of leftover farinata, Turkish olives, and more wine. Here are the particulars:
- 1993 Faiveley Latriciéres Chambertin (on the patio in the late afternoon)
- 2009 Perticaia Rosso – Sangiovese and Sagrantino from Umbria (at dinner)
- 2006 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon (part of a mid-morning snack)
Dinner at Dune was excellent, though a bit noisy. I had the beet salad and a seasonal vegetable risotto. Steve had the tuna tartare and the soft shelled crab atop a clam chowder. The Umbrian Rosso was great with everything.
Saturday afternoon I took the ferry and then drove back home, by way of Chestnut Hill and Urban Grape, where I met my friend David for a tasting with Gaetana Jacono, owner and winemaker at Valle Dell’Acate in Sicily. I had met her before at a tasting and dinner with another friend Steve, and I loved her Cerasuolo. This time my favorite was Il Moro, 100% Nero D’Avola.
As I browsed the shelves in the store, one other wine struck my fancy: a SATRAPEZO saperavi_2006 from Georgia. This country in the Caucasus has a wine-making tradition going back 6,000 years. It has been intriguing me recently, but I had never found a bottle in a wine store previously. This one caught my eye because it was 30% off. That usually means (a) a crappy wine, or (b) a wine no one knows about, or (c) both. In this case the correct answer is (b), fortunately. I had the Saperavi with a lunch, consisting of my homemade pickled beets and grilled Tuscan pane topped with a cashew mozzarella-like cheese I had made last weekend, along with a hot yellow grilling pepper purée, also from the weekend cooking activities. Quite to my surprise, the nut cheese (which was cold and rubbery when uncooked) turned out to be very tasty when broiled. It was all delicious.
The final invention for the week was tonight’s pasta for dinner. I was in a Ligurian sort of mood, and Barbara was off at the grandkids’ house for a couple of hours , so I was free to play around. Lots of pans, but a relatively simple dish:
- dice an onion and sauté until quite tender, then add chopped garlic and cook longer
- drain the onions and garlic, reserving the Taggiasca olive oil for subsequent steps.
- meanwhile peel and boil 3-4 small white new potatoes until almost done; drain and cool, then cut once lengthwise and then crosswise into 1/4″ slices
- start a large pasta pot of water to boil
- cut 2 zucchini in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/4″ slices
- sautée zucchini in olive oil on medium heat with fresh rosemary until very tender
- add zucchini to reserved onion and garlic
- clean and de-stem a small package of baby spinach
- trim, wash and slice young dandelion leaves
- use same sauté pan to cook spinach and dandelions together until just tender
- add olive oil back into the pan, add potato slices and cook until they absorb some oil
- now add the zucchini, onions and garlic, and chopped greens, along with some chopped pitted Kalamata olives
- Add salt to the boiling pasta water, then cook about 200 g. of Tagliatelle al dente
- reserve some pasta water and drain pasta, placing it in a large wide bowl
- put the vegetables on top, toss the noodles, add olive oil, salt and pepper as needed
- serve with a 2011 Bisson Marea Cinque Terre for Ligurian authenticity