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Fagioli all’Uccelletto + Allegrini's 2019 Valpolicella #ItalianFWT

This month the Italian Food Wine Travel bloggers are writing about Valpolicella wines with Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm leading the discussion. If you are reading this early enough, feel free to join our live chat on Twitter on Saturday, October 1st at 8am Pacific. Follow the hashtag #ItalianFWT and be sure to add it to anything you tweet so we can see it.

Valpolicella, said Wendy. Okay, I said. It was time to do some reading and tasting.

Raise your hand if you’ve heard of it? If you’re an Italian wine buff, you probably already know a thing or two about this wine-making region. If not, sit back, relax, and let us take you on a guided tour.  Here's the line-up of #ItalianFWT articles about Valpolicella...

Valpolicella falls within the province of Verona, in an area east of Lake Garda. Valpolicella received DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) status in 1968 though winemaking in the region has been on-going since the ancient Greeks. Valpolicella is made typically of three indigenous grape varieties -  Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Molinara - and the basic Valpolicella is light and fragrant. Valpolicella Classico is crafted from grapes grown in the original production zone while Valpolicella Superiore is aged for at least one year.

Known colloquially as "the Pearl of Verona", this month's #ItalianFWT was perfectly timed to collide with one of my online movie-blogging groups Movies & Munchies. I am hosting that event and asked the group to watch Letters to Juliet which is a rom-com that centers around Verona and the Secretaries of Juliet. If you are interested, you can read one of my posts for the event: Risotto all'Amarone con Funghi.

In the Glass

Allegrini is one of the Veneto’s most acclaimed winery  estates; they have been growing grapes and making wine for over six generations. Back in March 2020, I wrote about Marilisa Allegrini when the group was looking at Italian women in wine. You can read my post Marilisa Allegrini, Poggio al Tesoro Solosole Vermentino 2018, & Crab and Cambozola-Stuffed Arancini.

The Allegrini estate is located in Fumane di Valpolicella - just north of Verona. And with nearly 250 acres of vines - comprising seven different vineyards - in the Valpolicella Classico district, each of the sites has its own terroir and microclimates. Throughout their holdings, the Allegrini family have combined traditional winegrowing techniques with modern innovations.

This wine poured a brilliant garnet hue with flecks of purple on the rim. On the nose the wine boasted abundant berries and black stone fruit. On the palate the wine was medium-bodied with a velvety finish. Though I imagine this pairing beautifully with a roasted lamb, Jake and I are trying to eat less meat. So I decided to make a rich, bean-based dish that I served with sourdough bread.

In the Bowl

Fagioli all’Uccelletto is a Tuscan take on baked beans, layered with aromatic garlic, earthy sage, and a rich tomato sauce. Tuscany is a region famous for its plethora of bean dishes; in fact, Tuscans themselves are sometimes called mangiafagioli, 'bean eaters.'


  • 1 cup dried beans (cannellini are usual, but I used gigantes), soaked in salted cold water overnight
  • 1 bulb of garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 sprig of sage
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 8 to 10 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
  • 2 sprigs of sage, leaves picked and finely chopped
  •  1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper


Drain the soaked beans and place in a pot with the garlic bulb, 1 sprig of sage, and onion. Top up with water and season with a generous pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the beans are tender, approximately 35–45 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking water. Discard the onion, garlic and sage. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat olive oil in an oven-proof dish (I used my enamel cast iron braiser) and gently fry the 8 to 10 garlic cloves and 2 sprigs of sage until soft and aromatic. Do not let them brown. 

Once the garlic cloves are softened, stir in the soaked beans. Stir everything gently to coat in the oil, then add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Pour in enough of the reserved bean cooking liquor to cover the beans.

Season with salt and pepper then place the lid on the casserole. Place pot in the oven for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes to thicken up the sauce, if needed. Serve hot with thickly sliced sourdough bread.

And that's a wrap on my Valpolicella offering for the #ItalianFWT group this month. We'll be back in November with a focus on Chianti with Liz of What's in That Bottle? leading the conversation. Stay tuned.


  1. I love how Italians make such a simple dish of beans be so enjoyable. I usually will make them simply with spices and EVOO, but I like the sauce idea. The Valpolicella is such a wonderful region for food, wine and travel!

  2. What a delicious looking meat-free dish, and I'm sure a perfect pairing with the Valpo.


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