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8and20 squashpasta 225 Food And Wine

8 & $20 Recipe: Winter Squash Pasta and Beaujolais

Pancetta, ricotta and kabocha squash make a perfect combination for a winter night
Jennifer Fiedler

Eight ingredients. That’s all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you’ve got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That’s the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.

When it comes to making “authentic” pasta, there are plenty of rules: which shapes go with which sauces, how many ingredients a dish can have, “correct” regional variations. This recipe for pasta with roasted kabocha—a Japanese variety of winter squash—may not fit any traditional template, but still works for an easy weeknight dinner.

Here, the sweetness of the kabocha is tempered by the savory and earthy qualities of the pancetta and kale, while ricotta adds a nice richness and weight.

The easy route with wine pairings is to match regional cooking to regional wines, but for this pasta, the non-traditional combination of ingredients means the options for wine pairings are wide open.

If you’d like a white, a Rhône wine matched nicely with the squash, and the weight of the wine was a good balance with the brown butter sauce. For a red, a cru Beaujolais was our favorite as it highlighted the pancetta and brought out the earthy qualities of the squash instead of the sweetness.

Brown-Butter Penne Pasta with Kabocha Squash, Pancetta, Kale and Ricotta

Pair with a cru Beaujolais such as Georges Duboeuf Moulin-a-Vent Domaine de la Vigne Romaine 2010 (88 points, $16)


Total time: 45 minutes

Approximate food cost:$28

  • 1 medium kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and diced into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 bunch green kale, stemmed
  • 8 slices pancetta
  • 12 ounces dried penne pasta
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces whole milk ricotta
  • 4 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Toss the squash cubes with cooking oil, season with salt, place them on a sheet pan and roast until they are done, stirring occasionally, around 30 minutes.

2. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil, then add the kale and cook until done, around 4 minutes, then strain and reserve.

3. In a medium sauté pan, crisp the pancetta over medium-high heat, then remove and reserve.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add the pasta and cook to the manufacturer’s instructions. Strain and reserve.

5. In a large sauté pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat and cook until slightly browned. Add the squash pieces, kale and pasta and cook until heated through. Divide the pasta and squash mixture into four bowls and top with crumbled pancetta, a few spoonfuls of ricotta and toasted pine nuts. Serves 4.

 

 

 

8and20 chickenmushroom 225 Food And Wine

8 & $20 Recipe: Pan-Roasted Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

A Sauvignon Blanc from France makes a great complement to this easy, satisfying dish
Jennifer Fiedler

Eight ingredients. That’s all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you’ve got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That’s the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.

The phrase “cream of mushroom” has a staid reputation in the culinary world, thanks to canned soup’s role as a star ingredient in old-fashioned casseroles, sauces and cafeteria-style fare. But here, let’s praise homemade mushroom sauce for what it is: delicious and easy.

With few ingredients—mushrooms, stock, wine, cream and a member of the onion family—creamy mushroom sauce packs a lot of flavor and fits neatly into our eight-ingredient shopping list for this column. Here, we top pan-seared chicken and egg noodles with a quick version made with a mix of oyster, enoki and maitake (hen of the wood) mushrooms for a warming weeknight dish.

The ingredient list is flexible: Use whichever mushrooms suit your budget, and buy store-bought rotisserie chicken if you want to save time. I used tarragon as a garnish because I had some in the fridge, but you should be able to substitute parsley or thyme without tipping the wine pairing.

You have a large playing field of wines from which to choose. A white Bordeaux and unoaked Chardonnay were totally acceptable tablemates with the food. This might be a good time to experiment with a fino sherry, if you’re inclined; the oxidized character will go nicely with the mushrooms. If you’re looking for a red, the earthy character of a Cabernet Franc from the Loire also complemented the mushrooms. In our tasting, however, a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley was the favorite. The acidity and citrus characteristics of the wine were a solid counterpoint to the rich sauce.

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Pair with a Sauvignon Blanc from France such as David Girard Sancerre Domaine de Champarlan 2011 (89 points, $20)


Total time: 45 minutes

Approximate food cost: $42

  • 8 pieces of chicken, skin on—drumsticks and thighs
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms, such as oyster, enoki and maitake
  • 1/2 cup wine (whatever you’re drinking will work best)
  • 2 cups good quality chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup minced tarragon
  • 12 ounces egg noodles (such as pappardelle)

1. In a large sauté pan, heat two tablespoons of cooking oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then place them in the pan, skin-side down and cook until the skin is golden-brown, around 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chicken and reserve.

2. Add the sliced leeks to the pan that held the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, around 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, around 7 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the wine has almost completely evaporated, then add the stock. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the chicken pieces back to the pan, skin side up, and cover the pan. Cook until the chicken is done, around 15 minutes.

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the egg noodles and cook to the instructions on the back of the package. Strain the noodles into a bowl and dress with olive oil and reserve.

4. Remove the chicken from the mushroom sauce and reserve. Turn the heat to low and stir the cream into the mushroom mixture, and continue cooking, letting the sauce thicken, around 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning of the sauce with salt. To serve, place the noodles in a bowl, top with the sauce and two pieces of chicken and garnish with the tarragon. Serves 4.

 

 

 

 

8and20 herbfish 225 Food And Wine

8 & $20 Recipe: Herb-Crusted Sole with Chardonnay

Mashed potatoes made with olive oil makes a simple side
Jennifer Fiedler

Eight ingredients. That’s all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you’ve got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That’s the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.

As fall shifts into top gear, an abrupt return to braises, stews and roasts can sometimes feel a touch heavy. This simple dinner of herb-crusted baked sole and a side of mashed potatoes made with olive oil is bright and fresh-tasting but still has a dash of the comfort-food factor called for by the cooler nights.

Using olive oil means that the mashed potatoes will pick up the attractive herbal and grassy notes, so be sure to use good-quality, fresh oil. Be generous on the pour when you’re mixing it in: Remember you’re substituting for both cream and butter.

With its gentle flavors, this dish works well with a wide range of white wines. You’ll want something with a bit of weight to stand up to the rich mashed potatoes, but maybe not quite as heavy as if you had used butter. A full-bodied Pinot Bianco from Alto Adige made an excellent choice, as did a barrel-aged white Rioja. But a Chardonnay from the Mâconnais region of Burgundy stood out with the dish in our tasting: The citrus notes in the wine locked in with the lemon zest and herb mixture, while the round texture meshed nicely with the potatoes.

Herb-Crusted Sole with Olive-Oil Mashed Potatoes

Pair with a full-bodied Chardonnay from Burgundy, such as Domaine Michel & Fils Mâcon-Villages à Clessé 2011 (90 points, $16)


Total time: 25 minutes

Approximate food cost: $32

  • 4 medium Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced basil
  • 2 tablespoons minced mint
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 4 six-ounce sole fillets

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a large pot, add the potatoes, enough water to cover the potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, around 15 minutes.

2. Combine the herbs, breadcrumbs and lemon zest in a shallow dish. Brush the fish fillets with olive oil, season both sides with salt, then dredge one side of the fillets in the herb mixture. Place the coated fillets with the herb-coated side up on a non-stick baking sheet, then put the sheet in the oven, and cook until the fish is done, around 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Drain the potatoes and place in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and mash the potatoes until smooth, adding more olive oil as necessary. Season with salt to taste. Serve alongside the fish.Serves 4.

 

 

 

8and20 harissasteak 225 Food And Wine

8 & $20 Recipe: Spicy Pan-Seared Hanger Steak and a Greek Red

Roast eggplant with a garlic-yogurt sauce makes a delicious seasonal side
Jennifer Fiedler

Eight ingredients. That’s all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you’ve got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That’s the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.

In this recipe, harissa—a spicy, smoky North African sauce made from dried chiles and roasted red peppers—adds a twist to the easy weeknight luxury of pan-seared steak. A simple side of roasted eggplant with garlicky yogurt sauce makes a great seasonal complement for early fall.

On paper, the spice factor of harissa poses a bit of a hurdle when it comes to choosing a wine to open. Conventional wisdom says spicy food calls for wines with low alcohol and tannins. But sommelier Jill Gubesch, who built a wine list for the hot-pepper-inflected cuisine of Mexico at Chicago’s Topolobampo, said otherwise in a Q&A earlier this year; with some dishes, she prefers pulling out Zinfandels and Cabernets that share flavor characteristics with certain chile peppers.

When it came to pairing wines with this particular dish, we found much to like. A Tempranillo from Rioja had good acidity that lined up with the squeeze of lemon juice added to finish the steak. A Tannat-based Madiran from France had a rustic edge that pushed and pulled for dominance with the spicy harissa (in a good way). But a Greek red wine made from the native Xinomavro grape edged out the others, holding its firm structure and becoming a touch more elegant alongside the steak.

Harissa-Marinated Hanger Steak with Roasted Eggplant and Yogurt Sauce

Pair with a Xinomavro from Greece, such as Boutari Naoussa 2007 (89 points, $17)


Total time: 25 minutes

Approximate food cost: $35

  • 1 1/2 pounds hanger steak, around 1-inch thick (skirt or flank steak make good substitutions)
  • 3 tablespoons harissa
  • 3 medium-size eggplants
  • 1 cup whole plain yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. In a shallow baking dish or bowl, coat the hanger steak with the harissa sauce. Let the steak marinate while you prepare the eggplant.

2. Slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch rounds and toss with cooking oil and salt to taste. Spread the rounds in a single layer onto baking sheets and roast the eggplant in the oven until browned slightly, around 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.

3. Combine the yogurt, garlic and parsley in a small bowl and reserve.

4. In a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan, heat two tablespoons of cooking oil over medium-high heat. Season each side of the steak with salt, add the steak to the pan and cook until medium rare, around 4 to 5 minutes a side. Remove the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Squeeze the juice from the lemon over the resting steak and slice across the grain. Serve immediately with the roasted eggplant and yogurt sauce. Serves 4.

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