Let’s open our radar for some delicious and easy ideas of homemade food. Most of the dishes we are used to enjoying at restaurants can be easily made at home and paired with a good bottle of wine. As we are getting closer to Saint Valentine’s day, the wine and food pairing ideas I’ll share can be an inspiration for a special dinner with your other half. Here’s the list of the wines and their food pairings:

  1. Sangiovese, paired with pan-seared duck breast and creamy spinach
  2. Merlot, paired with meatballs and spaghetti
  3. Chardonnay, paired with tagliatelle with scallops
  4. Champagne, paired with sushi
  5. Gamay, paired with bruschetta with eggplant and zucchini
  6. Rosé, paired with ceviche Nikkei

1) Pan-seared duck breast with Creamy Spinach paired with Sangiovese

Although duck breast sounds quite sophisticated, it’s actually very easy to make. It’d take you less than an hour to prepare. For the creamy spinach, toss the spinach and minced garlic cloves on the pan with some olive oil and sautéed them until you lose most of the spinach volume. Later, add as much cream as you’d like, and cook until it has a denser consistency. Add some parmesan cheese on top while it’s warm. For the pan-seared duck breast, just cut the duck skin (fatty side) in a crosshatch pattern, season with kosher salt and leave the hot pan on the skin side down. Keep watching it to turn them upside down when the fat starts to drizzle, then cook more depending on how well cooked you’d prefer – a couple of minutes more if you like it rare. Serve the duck breast side by side on the plate with a glass of Sangiovese from Emilia-Romagna of Italy. 

2) Meatball and Spaghetti paired with Merlot

Making the spaghetti from scratch and cooking it would take around 1.5 hours. However, you can take the shortcut by using a packaged spaghetti. For spaghetti from scratch, you need 1 egg for each portion and 100 grams of flour for each egg. This measurement works out perfectly each time. For the sauce of the pasta, cut a small onion and two garlic cloves in small pieces and sautée them in the pan with some olive oil. Once they have a golden color, add a can of tomato sauce (or fresh tomatoes in summer), and some red wine. When the sauce starts to boil, add the raw meatballs in and cook for around 15 minutes. This way, the meatballs inside of the tomato sauce will keep their juiciness inside.  Once ready, serve with some parmesan cheese and fresh parsley leaves, and pair it with a medium bodied red wine, my selection was a glass of Merlot. 

3) Tagliatelle with scallops paired with Chardonnay

Use the same recipe for spaghetti, and this time cut in wider pieces to make tagliatelle. For the sauce, use 2 garlic cloves and sautée them in the pan with some olive oil, add the fresh scallops and cook them just a little bit until they form a crust outside and add some white wine and cream to finish cooking. Mix the sauce in the pan with tagliatelle and serve with parmesan and fresh parsley leaves. A bottle of California Chardonnay can make a great pairing of this dish, oaked or unoaked depending on your preference.

4) Sushi paired with Champagne

Champagne can turn even the simplest dinners into a feast. Homemade or ordered from your favourite take-away sushi restaurant, sushi makes an exciting dinner for seafood lovers. Pop a bottle of non-vintage Champagne to enjoy the pairing.

5) Eggplant and zucchini bruschetta paired with Gamay

If you are a home baker, this dish makes an amazing value addition to your sourdough rye bread. If not, you can buy your favourite bread and turn it into a sophisticated dish. Take one big eggplant and one zucchini, slice them very thinly with a mandoline slicer. Some salt, black pepper, just a touch of dried garlic and some olive oil on top before they all go to the oven at 375°F for 20 minutes. Meanwhile spread some pesto sauce on the sourdough rye bread slices. When the veggies are ready, place them on the bread with some mozzarella slices in between. The wine pairing for this dish is a glass of Gamay from Beaujolais. Fruitiness and freshness of this wine with its light to medium body made a very good pairing of this vegetarian dish.

6) Ceviche Nikkei with Rosé

Ceviche Nikkei is a Japanese-Peruvian dish to look for. To make it at home, you need fresh salmon, cleaned and ready to be cut in pieces. For the sauce, lemon, soy sauce, rice vinegar, fresh ginger and a touch of teriyaki sauce is enough. You can add some red onions and mix everything, the fish, the sauce and the onion ,in a large bowl. While these wait in the fridge to marinate for an hour, cut some fresh onion and cilantro to go with the dish. When the waiting finishes, serve it with some lettuce, half avocado and some corn. It looks as pretty as it tastes. Provence rosé made a great pairing, as it was able to handle the acidity of the dish.



All images © 2018 by Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.

Categories: Wine & Food, Wines

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