Pappardelle Pasta with Portobello Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions & Goat Cheese

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When brainstorming for a simple meal to pair with our Pinot Noir at ONEHOPE, I had one thing stuck in my mind and knew we had to make it work – pasta.  Pasta is so simple to make and can be manipulated to perfectly pair with any wine.  Whether you’re craving something creamy, acidic, cheesy, spicy – there’s a pasta for every desired taste profile.  Since mushrooms and goat cheese are both wonderful for a Pinot Noir, I searched the web for inspiration and landed on this.  Done and done!  A ribbon pasta just seemed more romantic (a la Lady and the Tramp) so I decided on Pappardelle in lieu of Ziti to keep with our Valentine’s Day theme and to also really soak up that goat cheese.  This savory, hearty pasta pairs wonderfully with ONEHOPE’s Edna Valley Pinot Noir. This wine is just acidic enough to cut through the rich goat cheese and is the perfect, full bodied and earthy compliment to portobello mushrooms and sweet, caramelized onions. YUM!

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pappardelle pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 1 pound portobello mushrooms (stems and gills removed, caps sliced in half and then crosswise into ~1/4″ slices)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (crumbled)
  • 4 ounces freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)

Directions

  1. In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and stir occasionally for ~30-40 minutes or until onions are golden brown.
  2. While onions are caramelizing, in a large pot, boil your pasta in salted water according pasta’s instructions.
  3. Remove onions from pan and heat 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add mushrooms and stir until soft and medium brown. In the same pan, add the onions, balsamic vinegar, pepper, half the parsley.
  4. When pasta is fully cooked, drain and add remaining olive oil to the pot. Return cooked pasta to pot, add the onion and mushroom mixture, salt, water, 2/3 of the goat cheese and 2 ounces of grated parmesan. Toss while making sure to evenly coat pasta and meld flavors. Plate immediately.
  5. Garnish each dish with remaining fresh, crumbled goat cheese, top with remaining parmesan and a sprinkle of parsley.
  6. Pair with ONEHOPE’s Edna Valley Pinot Noir.  Cheers!

PS: Check out my other Valentine’s Day wine pairings here and here.

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Wilted Frisée with Coarse Grain Mustard Vinaigrette and Granny Smith Apples

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No meal is complete without something green so when putting together a 3 course wine dinner, I knew we needed a little something fresh that would be a perfect pairing with Chardonnay. While I was bouncing around ideas with our Sommelier, she threw out the idea of a wilted frisée salad.  Honestly, I was skeptical.  Frisée are the little bitter greens that I’ve always picked out of a mixed green salad simply because they’re always a little too tough or frankly, bitter (which they are by nature). I’ve never been a fan. Creating a salad comprised of all frisée scared me, but she convinced me when she suggested slightly wilting it to make it easier to eat and to help meld the flavors of a course grain mustard vinaigrette. I decided to take the chance and I’m so glad I did. I could not believe how much I LOVED this salad – I actually went back for seconds! The combination of light, slightly bitter greens, mustard vinaigrette and apples are the prefect compliment to our California Chardonnay. The chopped, granny smith apples bring out the hint of apple and pear in the wine while the mustard vinaigrette offers the perfect touch of acidity to compliment the bitterness of the greens. This is a delicious, light and crisp salad to enjoy before a hearty main course (coming tomorrow). YUM! Give it a try this weekend for your Valentine and I promise you’ll love it.  Just be sure to pair it with a little Chardonnay. The combo is pretty spectacular.  Scroll down to view the recipe!

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Yield: 2 salads

Ingredients

1 head frisée
1 tablespoon coarse grain mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup feta
1/2 medium granny smith apple (chopped)

Directions

1. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
2. Toss greens in pan until slightly wilted and just starting to brown.
3. To make your vinaigrette, whisk together mustard, red wine vinegar, black pepper, salt and remaining olive oil.
4. In a large bowl, toss greens, chopped apple, feta and drizzle with vinaigrette.  Serve with a crisp chardonnay.

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Salad Wars – Easy Spinach Salad

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As much as I wish I could say that I’m a health nut, it just isn’t the truth.  I blame part of it on growing up with a should-have-been-a-chef father who was always whipping up something absolutely incredible that generally included rich flavors: garlic, spices, great meats, savory cheeses, etc.  Now that I work in the wine industry, my foodie levels have only been heightened by pushing myself to think about pairings and learning more about what foods bring out certain characteristics in wines and vice versa.  However, when I started running a LOT earlier this year (more than ever before in my life), I started to learn a few things about my body.  Mainly that I absolutely could not continue eating anything and everything I ever wanted.

The issue for me is that it’s really hard to find healthy food that is flavored well and that I really, truly crave.  I need salads that are way more interesting than the pre-made quinoa and kale station at Whole Foods during lunch to keep me going or else I wind up at the ridiculous taco joint down the street for the best fish tacos on the planet, or god forbid, CHIPOTLE, which is also conveniently within walking distance to the office.  Additionally, I took a hard look at my bank account a few weeks ago and it’s just sad how much money goes to eating lunch out almost every day of the week.  It’s no secret that packing a lunch saves you money, but it was a truth I chose to ignore for quite a while.

Enter Salad Wars which is mainly a great big experiment and challenge to find the best, most convenient and healthy salads out there.  In my quest, I have found a few and to my disbelief, I’m actually excited for them by lunch or dinner – a feat I never thought possible ;-)  Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a few of those recipes and hope to inspire you to join me on the quest for good health.

#1 is my go-to Spinach Salad… check out the recipe below!

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Prep: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients

2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach
1 handful of cherry or grape tomatoes sliced in half
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 avocado
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt (to taste)
a dusting of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions

If you’re taking this for lunch and would like to prep it the night before, I usually mix the spinach, pine nuts, parmesan and a little salt in a travel container.  I slice the avocado and tomatoes just before eating to keep things fresh :-)

This salad could not be simpler, which I love.  No dressing at all (including EVO) is always better than dressing, but cutting out pre-mixed, store bought dressing also cuts out major calories so I feel ok with a little drizzle of olive oil.  With a tiny bit of salt and just a slight dusting of cheese, I’ve found that I don’t miss the pre-mixed dressing at all and I feel fulfilled and re-energized when I’m done eating instead of slipping into total food-coma… We’ve all been there after lunch.  You know what I’m talking about.

*If you’re having this for dinner or if you’re allowed to have a taste of wine at work, this wine or this one are great options and pair deliciously with all of the flavors above :-)  Cheers!

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Wine Wednesday (HalloWINE Style)

When one of our co-founders at work suggested that we put an adult spin on Halloween and pair our wines with classic trick-or-treat candy, I was game.  She conducted a tasting and figured out which flavors would work the best with one another before passing it over to me to style and shoot.  The office was FULL of goodies yesterday so we all did our own little tastings and they were AMAZING… Some of the pairings were really different and unique so I didn’t expect to like them all as much as I did, but I guess you really can’t go wrong with candy and wine!  It was tough to pick a favorite.  Thought I would pass these along for a little Halloween inspiration in case any of you wanted to give it a whirl on your own!  And I know it might be tempting, but try not to eat all your kids’ Halloween candy ;-) Cheers!

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