Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Malfatti di Ricotta con Basilico e Gamberi Agli Agrumi + m2 Mokelumne River 2018 Vermentino #LodiWine #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with a virtual wine tasting event hosted by 
Snooth for Lodi Wines. Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.

When I received an email from a contact at Snooth about taking part in a virtual wine tasting of wines from Lodi, I was excited. Lodi is one of those wine areas that I know I should have visited, being in the same state and all, but I haven't. It's on my list! I promise...

The tasting consisted of six wines from Lodi. The tasting and discussion order was:
  1. Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards 2018 Ingénue
  2. m2 Wines 2018 Vermentino
  3. Lange Twins Winery & Vineyards 2018 Aglianico Rosé
  4. Mettler Family Vineyards 2016 Pinotage
  5. PRIE Winery 2016 Ancient Vine (1900), Block 4 Spenker Ranch Carignane
  6. Michael David Winery 2016 Ink Blot Cabernet Franc

In preparation, I did some recipe testing on my own. I'll be sharing recipes and my thoughts throughout the next few weeks. But I was grateful to have been introduced to some great, and almost local to me, wines and wineries. Looking forward to visiting Lodi soon.

Since I received some Ridgeback prawn from our CSF share this week, from Real Good Fish, I decided to make Malfatti di Ricotta con Basilico e Gamberi Agli Agrumi and pair it with the m2 Mokelumne River 2018 Vermentino.

In My Glass

Vermentino is a light-skinned wine grape that is primarily found in Italian wines. Widely planted in Sardinia as Vermentino, it appears in Liguria under the name Pigato and in Piedmont under the name Favorita. It is also being cultivated in increasing amounts in the Languedoc-Roussillon area of France. This is a California Vermentino, specifically from the Mokelumne River area near Lodi. Made by winemaker Layne Montgomery, the grapes were harvested in September 2018 and bottled in January 2019. This was released just this week and has a suggested retail price of $20.

To the eye, this was an almost clear wine with just a hint of straw. On the nose, I was pleasantly surprised at the layers as it was so clear that I expected it to be almost watery. I know that's silly. But I got a blend of tropical notes such as pineapple or mango and citrus notes of lemon and orange. On the tongue, this was crisp and refreshing. Also, compared to other Vermentino wines I've tried, this hinted at the typical bitter almond finish, but leaned much more minerally and herbaceous than bitter. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine, especially with the malfatti pairing.

The tasting panel and studio audience highlighted that this was a small production batch that put growers in the spotlight. Other tasting notes included: lime, green apple, bright, expressive, minerally, accents of thyme, grass, and lemon pith.

On My Plate

Based on the flavor profile of the wine, and the timing of our CSF share pick-up, I knew that I wanted to make something with the prawns. Ridgeback prawns are west coast delicacy and these were landed in Santa Barbara on the 1st. I received them on the 2nd; some of them were still alive and kicking when I picked them up. Talk about fresh!

The meat is sweet and delicate like lobster, but has a nice depth of flavor. Ridgeback prawns are tiny - most are less than 2" - and notoriously tough to peel. I might curse a bit here and there while I'm cleaning them, but they are worth the effort! I always toss the heads and peels in a saucepan of water to make a quick stock.

Malfatti di Ricotta con Basilico 
e Gamberi Agli Agrumi

Malfatti di Ricotta are "badly formed" dumplings with made with ricotta and greens. These are so easy and pillowy soft. Traditionally malfatti are made with spinach, but I use whatever greens or herbs I have in the fridge.

  • 2 C whole milk ricotta
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 C shredded parmesan
  • 3 T fresh organic basil, chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • zest from 1 organic lemon (I used a Meyer lemon)
  • 1 egg
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • breadcrumbs (I used panko breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 C fish stock
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • drizzle of olive oil

  • 1 pound prawns, peeled and deveined
  • water
  • 1/4 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 C freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 T butter
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

  • organic basil leaves for garnish
  • orange slices for garnish
  • lemon slices for garnish
  • freshly ground pepper, as needed
  • parmesan for serving
Pour fish stock into a baking dish. Add the in the lemon juice and a glug of olive oil.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place all of the other ingredients - up to the breadcrumbs - in a large mixing bowl. Blend with a fork until everything is well incorporated. Place the panko on a plate.

With moistened hands, form heaping 2 T-sized portions into balls. Flatten them slightly and press them in the breadcrumbs.

Arrange them in the baking dish. When the dish is full, bake for 25-30 minutes until the dumplings are slightly browned. While they are baking, make the prawns.

Place all of the liquids in a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Gently lower the prawn into the liquid and poach until they just turn opaque. This is a quick process; mine were done in 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and add to a small bowl with the butter. Toss to coat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.

When the malfatti are done, serve hot, topped with the prawns, slices of citrus, and some fresh basil. Let diners grate their own cheese and grind their own black pepper to taste. Pronto al tavolo!

Find the Sponsors...
Lodi Wines on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram
Snooth on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram

*Disclosure: I received sample wines for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.

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