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Pici Alla Crema di Limone + Costaripa Valtènesi Chiaretto Rosamara 2019 #ItalianFWT

This month the Italian Food Wine Travel bloggers are headed to Lombardia to explore the foods and wines of the region. Jeff of Food Wine Click! is hosting and you can read his invitation here. If you are reading this early enough feel free to join our live chat on Twitter. We'll be there on Saturday, August 7th at 8am Pacific time. Just follow the hashtag #ItalianFWT and be sure to add it to anything you tweet so we can see it. Here's the Lombardia line-up from the group...

To Lombardy


One of Italy’s largest regions, Lombardy lies in northern Italy and shares a border with Switzerland and is known particularly for its sparkling wines made in the Franciacorta and Oltrepò Pavese areas. The Franciacorta DOCG, along Lake Iseo, is a sparkling wine made in the metodo classico (traditional method) from Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero. For red wines, Nebbiolo is the main grape in Valtellina Rosso DOC, Valtellina Superiore DOCG and Sforzato di Valtellina DOCG. Other varieties of note are Barbera and Croatina

Researching Lombardy’s food specialties, I realized that we eat a lot of them regularly without realizing that they hailed from there. Think saffron risotto, bresaola, and the cheeses. You know I love the cheeses - Gorgonzola, from the town of the same name; Mascarpone (we have made our own mascarpone...forgive the spelling error on the photo, please!); parmesan-style Grana; Robiola soft cheese; and Bel Paese. 

And panettone, from Milan, is one of our favorite Christmas sweets. The Precise Kitchen Elf makes it for us every year. Here's his recipe. In 2018, the #ItalianFWT shared pairings with Valtellina wines. I posted Short Ribs + the Balgera Valtellina Superiore Inferno. I had actually tracked down a bottle of Tenuta Scersce Nettare Rosso di Valtellina 2018 and Nebbiolo is always a favorite. However, I came across a Rosé from Lombardy and decided that wine felt more summery and appropriate for this event.

Costaripa Valtènesi Chiaretto Rosamara 2019

There was a time when I didn't appreciate the merits of a Rosé. I would roll my uninitiated eyes and think of the White Zinfandels of the 1980s. But, through many explorations of this wine group and several others, Rosés have cemented themselves as some of my favorite wines. They run the gamut from pale pink to deep salmon; and they can be quite complex in flavor.

Costaripa has been making wine since 1936 on the shores of Lago Garda in the Valtènesi region of Lombardia. Harvested completely by hand, this wine, their signature Chiaretto, is comprised of 60% Groppello, 5% Sangiovese, 30% Marzemino, and 5% Barbera. I was unfamiliar with the Groppello grape before researching this wine. It's a red wine variety common in Lombardy with tightly clumped clusters that resemble pine cones.

For this wine Costaripa uses a teardrop method - lacrima vinification - that I need to research more because I can't quite envision what they mean by stationary draining. But it sounds intriguing! Chiaretto is derived from the Italian word 'chiaro' which means 'light' or 'pale', It's a crisp Rosé made from red wine grapes using white winemaking practices. By limiting the juice’s exposure to the grapes skins, the color of Chiaretto remains light and pale.

The wine is a lovely light rose petal pink with aromas of cherries and pomegranate. On the palate it has a soft, silky texture with a hint of bitter almonds. 

Though my Italian is admittedly very, very rusty, I think the rough translation of the label on the front of the bottle goes something like this about Il Vino Di Una Notte, wine of a night. "Every year a moment to be seized, a single moment...celebrating the quality of the harvest in every step. RosaMara is born a few hours after pressing, in the middle of the night, when the cellar separates the must from the skins to establish the correct tone and intensity of the color; the height of fruity aromas, the richness of fresh sensations and the persistence of savory ones."

Pici Alla Crema di Limone

As this month's event hits during the last week of summer break for my younger son, I wanted to make a meal that he and I could make together. It needed to be Italian and it needed to feel summery. I settled on pici, a hand-rolled pasta. The recipe that inspired me referred to this pasta shape as sucareddi. However, I couldn't find a reference to that in my pasta encyclopedia even though it does list 'also known as' for the different shapes. And when I checked with my favorite Italians or Italian speakers, all called it 'pici.' So, we're going with that. Pici is thick, hand-rolled pasta that originated in Tuscany, near Sienna. It's usually made from just flour and water so it's a little more dense and chewy. And, as with most of my pasta doughs, I use weight measurements but have given volume approximations as well.

I have shared my pici process before in a post for the French Winophiles group: Gamay Around the Globe: From Burgundy to the Willamette Valley + Mussels, Pici, and A Bottle from New Zealand. In that version I served the pasta in a savory broth with mussel. For this, I made a salty, tart sauce made with lemons and anchovies.

Ingredients serves 4 to 6
  • 150 grams (approximately 1cup) pasta flour or all-purpose flour
  • 170 gram (approximately 1 cup) semolina flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 160 milliliters (approximately 2/3 cup) warm water


  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 or 6 anchovy fillets plus more for (optional) garnish
  • juice from 3 organic lemons (zested first with zest set aside)
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh herbs (I used oregano) plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated cheese (I used parmesan) plus more for serving


Place flours and salt together in a mixing bowl. Gradually add the water, and mix with a fork until it just comes together. 

Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. 

Wrap in plastic wrap and rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Now on to the fun part...


Divide the dough ball into 8 golf ball-sized pieces and roll them into 12" cylinders approximately 1" diameter. 

Then take each cylinder and rub them between your palms until they elongate and become thinner. I like to use gravity and have the pici come off the back of my hand back to the countertop.

Toss the noodles in semolina and set aside until needed.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add in the pici and cook for 2 minutes. Drain, but reserve at least two cups of the cooking water.

In a small mixing bowl, blend together bread crumbs, herbs, lemon zest, and grated cheese. Set aside,

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil. Stir in the garlic and the anchovy fillets. Cook over medium heat until the anchovies begin to fall apart, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the lemon juice. Stir in half of the breadcrumb mixture and stir to coat the breadcrumbs with the anchovy oil. Pour in two ladles worth of pasta cooking water and stir to combine into a sauce.

Add in the parboiled pici and continue to cook for another minute or two. The pasta should be fully cooked and the sauce beginning to thicken.

To serve, plate portion in an individual serving bowl. Top with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the breadcrumb mixture. Sprinkle with more herbs and cheese, if desired. Top with an anchovy fillet, if using. Serve immediately.

That's a wrap for the #ItalianFWT Lombardy event. We'll be back next month with a look at the wines of Marche or Verdicchio Matelica & Jesi with Marcia at  Joy of Wine leading the discussion. Stay tuned...


  1. Oh my goodness, this pasta sounds delicious. I'll bet it was a great pairing.

    1. It really was...especially if you're a fan of those hairy little salty fish. LOL.

  2. I always enjoy getting pici when I go there. Ive really come to enjoy Chiaretto of the Lake Garda area. Looks like a nice pairing.

  3. Love Costaripa Rosamara...such a unique Chiaretto. And love the detailed instructions on your pasta dish! I totally wish I had more time to do stuff like that!

  4. A Valtènesi Chiaretto sounds super! I've not heard of the 'tear drop' method either... perhaps throw out a question about it in Twitter?

    I have heard of Pici and with your sauce, yum! We're big anchovy and lemon fans. I bet the sauce would be great on top of rice too if one was lazy and didn't want to make the pasta?!?


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