Making a simple meal extraordinary

Cooking from your pantry with minimal ingredients is tough, but it doesn’t mean you should miss out on savouring a fantastic wine pairing. Next time you’re staring into the abyss of an empty refrigerator, remember you have a range of ingredients in your wine cooler and pantry.

If you don’t have the ingredients at hand to make any of these wine dinners, go to your wine cooler first. Pick a wine you want to drink and reverse engineer a dish based on the wine’s aromas, flavours and structure.

Here are two dishes to get you going:

Pasta Puttanesca & Barbera

Pasta Puttanesca is an Italian dish originating in Naples: the land of brilliant wine dinners. This pasta is packed with savoury basics like olives, capers and anchovies.

Ingredients: olive oil, garlic, canned diced tomatoes, anchovies, olives of choice, capers, spaghetti, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Wine Pairing: Barbera

Why it Works: Barbera is Piedmont’s red wine meant for daily consumption in this Northwestern Italian region. So it needs a dish that matches its “everyman” persona.

The wine’s acidity is a perfect match for the acidic tomatoes in this pasta. Also, the salty pantry staples in the Pasta Puttanesca will balance the wine’s high acidity. Barbera’s tart cherry and dried herb flavours will support this deliciously simple pasta perfect for any night of the week.

Garlic Herb White Bean Soup & Cinsault

This is the ultimate simple soup that is both filling and flavourful, yet simple to prepare.

Ingredients: Olive oil, garlic, cannellini beans, dried thyme, dried rosemary, vegetable/chicken broth, salt & pepper, red pepper flakes and bread.

Wine Pairing: Cinsaut (also known as cinsault)

Why it Works: Cinsault is a southern Rhône valley variety that is a minor grape in the blends of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Its fruit notes are a nice balance to the soup’s garlicky flavours while the florals complement the soup’s dried herbs. The light body and tannin of cinsault are perfect for the simple flavours of the white bean soup.

With this dish, a grape that normally plays the supporting role can shine.

(Source: Wine Folly)

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