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However, all opinions expressed here are my own.
I received two bottles of the 2015 Cabernet Franc from Shale Canyon* in preparation for this #CabFrancDay event. Had we not been in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, I would have poured them for two of my best friends' birthday dinner. More on that soon; first a bit about this event, #CabFrancDay.
Cabernet Franc has long been viewed as a blending variety and is most often used with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in making Bordeaux-style wines. However it is gaining momentum as a single varietal all around the world. I have tried Cabernet Francs from Chile, South Africa, and California.
Based on DNA analysis in the late 1990s, it was determined that Cabernet Franc is one of the parent grapes for Cabernet Sauvignon; Cabernet Franc plus Sauvignon Blanc resulted in Cabernet Sauvignon. Records of Cab Franc show that it was planted in the Loire Valley and in Bordeaux as early as the 1700s.
Being related, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon share some marked characteristics; but it's really the differences that intrigue me. While Cabernet Sauvignon can lean to inky in color, Cabernet Franc is usually lighter in pigment. The latter also seems to be more floral on the nose and less tannic on the palate. It's definitely a food-friendly wine that deserves to be fêted. I will certainly have December 4th on my calendar for next year's celebration. Cheers.
Every year I host a joint party for both Mike and Pia. And, at least for the past few years, they have requested lasagna. But, as the world continues to battle this virus, having three households around a dining table is not smart. For my own birthday, in May, I hosted a party via Zoom! Though it was nice to see my friends' faces and hear their voices, a virtual party just isn't as fun. And I didn't get to cook for everyone. Boo.
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
- 1/2 C diced pancetta
- olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 3 sausage links, cooked and diced (I used chicken sausages)
- 1 jar tomato sauce
- 1 (large) can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 2 Tablespoons fresh oregano
- 2 Tablespoons fresh basil
- freshly ground salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- no boil lasagna noodles
- 3 cups shredded cheese (I used a mixture of mozzarella, asiago, provolone)
- 1 cup shredded parmesan
- 1 cup small curd cottage cheese
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella ciliegie, halved
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
In a large, flat-bottom pan, sauté the onions, fennel, and pancetta in a splash of olive oil until the onions are softened and translucent. Add in the ground meats and cook till browned through completely.
Add in the tomato sauce, wine, water, and cooked sausages. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, stir in herbs, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
*Disclosure: I received compensation in the form of wine samples for recipe development and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.