Friday, December 6, 2019

Italy Meets Argentina: Empanadas de Carne + Azienda Bisceglia Terra di Vulcano Aglianico del Vulture 2016 #ItalianFWT

Back in 2016, I found myself without a wine to pour from Basilicata. Boo! But I made Calzone di Vedure for that #ItalianFWT post. This month, as Susannah of Avvinare hosts the group with an invitation to explore Wines from Lesser Known Italian Regions, I am sharing a wine from Basilicata along with something that looks like a calzone, but hails from Argentina instead of Italy:

But first, if you are reading this early enough, feel free to jump in on the live Twitter chat - Saturday, December 7th, at 8am Pacific time. Use the hashtag #ItalianFWT if you want to chime...or just search for that so you can see all of the tweets. In the meantime, here are the posts.

In My Glass

Funny story: I bought and paired this wine twice! First, when I made this recipe back in August, I had sourced a bottle of Azienda Bisceglia Terra di Vulcano Aglianico del Vulture 2016. Then I completely forgot about that pairing and purchased a second bottle of the same wine in preparation for this December event!

In that case, I paired the wine with a Mediterranean salad-topped hummus. It was fine, but this pairing was better. So, I stuck with my original plan and dug back into my photo files to create this post.

To the eye, this wine was a vibrant ruby shade. To the nose, I got subtle notes of freshly made blueberry jam with some hints of spice. This was a soft, supple wine that was very balanced and food-friendly.

And since we're focusing on lesser known wine regions, I'll tell you a little bit about the region from which this wine hailed: Basilicata.

Located in southern Italy, it is bordered by Campania and Puglia to the north and Calabria to the south. Largely landlocked it is also one of the most mountainous regions in the county with three main peaks dotting the area. Most of the vineyards lie around Mount Vulture in its volcanic soil. And it is best known for red wines of the Aglianico variety, especially the Aglianico del Vulture appellation. Really, next to 'Valdobbiadene', 'Aglianico' is one of my favorite Italian wine words to say.

Like most of Italy, winemaking has been going on in Basilicata for more than a thousan years. However, unlike central and northern Italy whose winemaking pioneers were the Etruscans and the Romans, it was the Greek who began to cultivate grapes in the region. In fact, it's their word for prince 'basilikos' that lent the region its name.

On My Plate

I honestly don't remember exactly why I picked this as a pairing. But I do know that I enjoyed the combination...and I especially loved that R did the cooking! Empanadillas de Carne are savory beef turnovers made in a delicious flaky dough. My Precise Kitchen Elf is my empanada-master and his favorites are Empanadas Mendocinos, which he makes every few months. This is a slightly different version as they are smaller than his usual and don't include the capers and hard-boiled eggs that he enjoys so much. And this dough is more pie crust-like and less bread-like. This is a three part recipe...

 Empanadas de Carne

Carne Molida
This picadillo recipe is delectably seasoned ground beef that can be used as a filling or simply eaten with rice. I stirred some leftovers into scrambled eggs the next morning for breakfast.

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 T smoked paprika
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T fresh oregano, chopped
  • ½ T ground cumin
  • ½ C butter
  • 2 onions, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 T fresh tomato sauce
  • 1 t vinegar
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 C sliced olives
Combine the first five ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a large, flat-bottom pan. Add the onions, garlic, and green bell pepper and cook till the onions are softened and translucent. Add the meat mixture to the onions and cook on medium heat until the meat is cooked thoroughly, stirring frequently. Stir in 2 T fresh tomato sauce and 1 t vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then let the picadillo cool.

Masa Para Empanadas (Empanadas Dough)
This is an easy three-ingredient dough that can be used for any sweet or savory filling such. We used it for the meat empanadas and a sweet with cream cheese and guava paste. Delcious!

  • 2-1/2 C flour
  • 2 T oil (I used olive oil)
  • 2/3 C water, boiling
  • pinch of salt
  • Also needed for finishing: 1 beaten egg
Place flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour in oil and stir. Then, add boiling water. Combine with a fork until the dough comes together in a crumbly ball. Then knead by hand until well-incorporated. Form a ball, cover, and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

Once chilled, roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper. Cut out round disc shapes for empanadas. To assemble the empanadas place a spoonful of the meat mixture on one half of the empanada disc. 

Fold the empanada discs in half and seal the edges, You can twist and fold the edges with your fingers.You can crimp the edges with a fork.  Or you can use an empanada fork, what R called his "empanada generator."

Lightly brush the top of the empanadas with the beaten egg. This gives them a nice golden glow when they bake.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes - until they are nicely browned and firm to the touch.

Serve with organic lemon wedges and hot sauce on the side. The Precise Kitchen Elf was pretty happy with his creation. I was, too!

And that's a wrap for all of the 2019 Italian Food Wine Travel themes. We'll be back after the holidays as Jeff of FoodWineClick! has us introducing a friend to Italian wine. Honestly, I am a little intrigued on what that really mean. Looking forward to his invitation and hearing more about what he wants to see. Till then...buon natale e buon anno!


  1. Love your pairing Cam, you could equate it to the Italian version of empanada- beef ravioli... kind of. Anyway glad you shared this Aglianico-Empanada pairing and info!

  2. I don't know where you find time for everything. My life has been so busy that I am just now getting around to reading the posts on this interesting topic.

  3. Aglianico del Vulture are great wines, looks like a great pairing. Cheers!