Welcome to March's edition with the Italian Food Wine Travel bloggers group. Can you believbe it's March already?!? I can't.
This month, Gwendolyn of Wine Predator is hosting us as we explore the biodynamic wines of Italy. She has raised this question in all of the wine groups to which she belongs this year. We explored French biodynamic wines in January when I posted Learning About Biodynamic Wines. And Gwen has us tasting and pairing biodynamic wines from anywhere in the world for April's Wine Pairing Weekend. I can't wait to share my pairing with a biodynamic wine from Mendocino! You can read her invitation to the #ItalianFWT bloggers here.
Before I get to my dinner in Testosterone Land, here's what the #ItalianFWT bloggers shared...
- Jill of L’Occasion: Gravner: Nature As A Source Of Thought
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Dinner in Testosterone Land: Braised Short Ribs + 2016 Nuova Cappelletta Barbera del Monferrato
- Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm: Brasato al Vino Rosso with Montefalco
- Jeff of FoodWineClick!: Looking Beyond Biodynamic Certification at Cantina di Filippo
- Lauren of The Swirling Dervish: The Wines of Alois Lageder: Cultivating Nature as a Habitat of Life
- Nicole of Somm's Table is Cooking to the Wine: Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Sicilia Rosso with Creamy Eggplant and Tomato Zoodles
- Jennifer of Vino Travels: The Organic Wines of Abruzzo with La Valentina
- Susannah of Avvinare: Chianti without Sulfites- The Wines of Fattoria Lavacchio
- Katarina of Grapevine Adventures: The World of Biodynamic Wine at #ItalianFWT
- Lynne of Savor the Harvest: The Important Thing You Don’t Know About Italian Wine Labels
- Host Gwendolyn of Wine Predator: Vinitaly’s Wine Ambassador Course, the Sub-regions of Brunello, and Dr Who?
Dinner in Testosterone Land
I joke that I am a permanent resident of Testosterone Land. I guess I'm not really joking. There are a lot of males in my life. And, surprisingly, almost all of my close friends also only have boys. So, when a friend was out of town for the weekend, I texted her husband and asked if he and his boys wanted to come over for dinner. He responded: "Yes, we are available. J- says no squid. LOL. He knows you." I was thinking salmon or short ribs. I have to see what's available.
Flash forward a few hours. I was standing at the meat counter in Whole Foods when my phone beeped. "If you have a choice, my spoiled son votes short ribs!" At the counter getting them right now. He has good taste.
Wine first though...
In My Glass
As with the French biodynamic event, several of us were chatting back and forth about where to source biodynamic wines. And, more, about how there were many vintners who were making wine with biodynamic methods but who weren't bothering to get the certifications.
This one - 2016 Nuova Cappelletta Barbera del Monferrato - doesn't have the Demeter certification, but states on the label: "made exclusively with grapes grown in our vineyards with the biodynamic method in harmony with nature and tradition." That works for me!
A little more digging revealed that the winery director and grandson of founder Giuseppe Fracchia, Alessandro Uslenghi, continues to use the biodynamic practices that have been in place there since 1984. The grape vines share a home with cattle, birds, insects, and other wildlife in addition to corn and other crops. Their land, of over 500 acres, is also a designated nature preserve.
In the glass, this Barbera is a deep red, almost purple color with warm aromas of vanilla and cinnamon. On the palate, it's buoyant yet concentrated. What a great sip! And it paired beautifully with my braised short ribs.
On My Plate
Ingredients serves 7
- 2 to 2-1/2 pounds beef short ribs (prefer grass-fed, organic beef)
- freshly ground salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 organic onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 T butter
- 1 C tomato sauce
- 1 C beef stock
- 1/2 C red wine
- 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
- 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
Preheat an oven to 350ºF. Season short ribs liberally with salt and pepper. Set aside. In a Dutch oven, melt 1 T butter in 2 T olive oil. Add the onions and garlic.
Add the short ribs to the pan. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Pour in the tomato sauce, stock, and red wine. Bring liquid to a boil. Top with artichoke hearts.
Place it in the oven to braise for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. The meat should be tender and almost falling off the bone.
Cook pasta according to package. Remove ribs carefully from the sauce. Stir drained pasta into the sauce until completely coated. Add in cheese and stir to incorporate.
Scoop pasta into individual serving bowls and top with short rib. I also served Roasted Brussels Sprouts and a green salad.
And, for dessert, I put out a fun, sprinkle-topped cake! I needed something a little girly on the table.
We argued over whether or not the cake looked Easter-y. Apparently, not only was I the only girl at the table, I was the only one who thought the cake looked like Springtime and Easter. What do you think?