Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Perfect Pair: Meal Paired with Campo Viejo

During the winter months (excluding the weather today), there is nothing better than opening a bottle of wine with loved ones and sharing a homemade meal that highlights the flavors that are so indicative of winter.  

The Wine Pairing:  

Campo Viejo, Rioja’s largest wine producer, conducted a survey to determine exactly what flavors keep food and wine lovers in their kitchens December through March. The results showed that the most popular winter foods were cheeses, meats and pies, which inspired the following three-course tasting menu, designed to be enjoyed with the Campo Viejo 2010 Tempranillo (SRP: $9.99). The deep cherry hues and intense red fruit notes make this young wine incredibly approachable, while hints of vanilla, cocoa and spice make this bottle an ideal choice for the indoor months. 
First Course: Truffle Mac and Cheese
The truffles reflect the earthy undertones in the Tempranillo, and the richness of the cheese is balanced by the wine's modest acidity.

1 16-ounce box elbow macaroni
½ teaspoon salt
Olive oil
1 quart whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons white truffle oil, divided
12 ounces Comté cheese, grated (or other Swiss cheese)
8 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated
¾ cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
Shaved truffles for garnish, optional

• Preheat the oven to 400° F. Grease a 10x13 baking pan.
• Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt and a drizzle of olive oil to boiling water. Add pasta and cook al dente (slightly underdone is better than overdone). Drain, rinse briefly under cold water and set aside.
• While the pasta is cooking, heat the milk over low heat until hot, but not boiling.
• Meanwhile, heat 4 tablespoons butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until melted. Reduce heat and add the flour, whisking constantly to form a smooth paste, about 2 minutes. Add in rosemary, continuing to mix.
• Gradually whisk in the hot milk and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon of the truffle oil, then mix the Comté and cheddar until melted. Season with salt and pepper (to taste).
• Add the pasta to the sauce, stirring to coat, and pour into baking pan.
• Top with the panko bread crumbs and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown.
• Before serving, drizzle with remaining truffle oil and shaved truffles (if desired). Serve hot.
Second Course: Moroccan Lamb Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Tempranillo and lamb are a classic pairing, and the spices found here share the spotlight with those of the Tempranillo.
1 ½ pounds ground lamb
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 small onion, diced
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained (optional)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika, divided
Olive oil
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

• Preheat oven to 200° F.
• Sauté onion in a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet until soft. Set aside.
• In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine ground lamb, egg, onion, raisins (if using), cumin, cinnamon, ½ teaspoon paprika and ½ teaspoon salt. Form mixture into one ounce balls, about the size of ping pong balls.
• Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs (in several batches if necessary) and sauté for about 8 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.
• In the meantime, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, cayenne and remaining paprika and sauté for about a minute until fragrant, making sure not to burn. Add crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until slightly thickened. Season with salt to taste.
• Remove meatballs from oven and add to sauce. Cook for another five minutes until meatballs are cooked through. Serve with couscous or rice.

Third Course: Apple Turnovers with Maple-Mascarpone Glaze
Maple and cinnamon inspire homeward bound thinking, while the apple embraces the Tempranillo's fruit-forward notes.

Pastry and filling:
4 cups Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium apples), peeled, cored and chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry sheets - thawed
1-2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1/2 cup mascarpone, at room temperature
2 tablespoons maple syrup

• Preheat oven to 400° F.
• Place apples in a bowl and drizzle lemon juice over them, tossing gently to coat.
• Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add apples to skillet and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add sugar and cinnamon and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.
• Mix together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a bowl. Pour into the skillet and mix well. Cook for another minute or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat to cool.
• Unfold puff pastry sheets and trim each sheet into a square. Cut each one into 4 smaller squares. Spread apples onto the middle of each square, then fold each square in half to form a triangle. Press ends together to seal. Place the triangles 1-2 inches apart, on a slightly greased baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Lightly brush the top of each turnover with beaten egg whites.
• Bake for 20-25 minutes or until turnovers are puffed and lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely.
• To make the glaze, mix together the mascarpone and maple syrup in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over the cooled turnovers and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste.

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