What to Cook This Week: Italian Chicken in Red Wine

One of the skills I’m learning in culinary school is how to fabricate meats. What once was a very intimidating process, is now a proficient experience. I can honestly say I’m comfortable with butchering a whole chicken! Continue reading “What to Cook This Week: Italian Chicken in Red Wine”

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An Easter Feast of Roasted Leg of Lamb and Mint Chutney

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An Easter Feast featuring Roasted Leg of Lamb with Mint Chutney, Roasted Root Vegetables, Rosemary Mashed Potatoes and Blanched Snap Peas.

At my house, it wouldn’t be a dinner party without the smoke alarm sounding at least once or my Shih Tzu, Ewok howling to the top of his lungs and doing the happy dance each time a new guest arrives at the door. That was the scene on a rainy Tuesday night recently when I invited my boyfriend and two close friends over for an early Easter feast. It was an occasion special enough for fine china and the antique, linen seashell napkins my mother gave me. On the menu? Continue reading “An Easter Feast of Roasted Leg of Lamb and Mint Chutney”

Petite Sirah Pasta Boats

Seeing this photo of stuffed pasta while listening to the song Belle by Jack Johnson has me escaping to the streets of Italy, smelling fresh bread and imagining fine wine—then Pandora radio quickly changes tunes and I snap back to reality.

Ground beef, Parmigiano-Reggiano, red wine and pasta are staple ingredients I always have on hand. With only a few ingredients, this recipe packs a nice punch and comes together quickly. It’s also versatile. Feel free to change up the ingredients and substitute them with items from your pantry!

Brown the ground beef and onion, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Then, deglaze the pan with a good quality red wine. I’m using Dancing Coyote’s Petite Sirah. It’s a full-bodied, dry wine that’s full of flavor…one of my favorites! Always cook with a wine you enjoy drinking.
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. I like to add salt and olive oil to the pasta water for added flavor. Then set up a little stuffing station.

Stuff the pasta with the ground beef mixture, then top with sharp cheddar cheese. Sharp cheddar gives it a nice bite.

Cover the stuffed pasta with a jarred tomato sauce, then grate fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano right over the top of the dish. Drizzle with olive oil and splash with another drink of red wine. This will help the pasta to stay moist during the cooking process. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.

Enjoy fresh from the oven with a garden salad and some fresh bread and you’ve got a complete meal. Be sure to pour yourself a glass of that red wine, if there’s any left. 😉

Tell me about your best pasta dish!

Shiraz by Layer Cake

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Who wouldn’t love a bottle of wine named Layer Cake? Naturally, I was drawn to the delectable chocolate cake pictured on the front of the bottle, but then I read the description on the back and immediately knew I had made my choice. Here’s what it says:

My old grandfather made and enjoyed wine for 80 years. He told me the soil in which the vines lived were a layer cake. He said the wine, if properly made, was like a great layer cake, fruit, mocha and chocolate, hints of spice and rich, always rich. ‘Never pass up a layer cake,’ he would say. I have always loved those words.

Try Shiraz, Vintage 2009 from South Australia by Layer Cake. You’ll be glad you did.