Classic Cheese & Wine Pairings

Cheese and wine are perfect summer fare. Both are easy to serve and both are simple, two qualities that are ideal for making summer snacking special. A lot of people, myself included (what do you think I’m about to do?), will try to tell you how to enjoy your cheese and wine. Before I delve into the ways of cheese pairing, let’s just get one thing perfectly straight: the best cheese and wine pairing is the one you like the best. [Read more…]

8 Lighter Summer Salads

As we round the corner into summer season, an abundance of delicious fruits and veggies hit their prime. With all of this great produce on hand, it is incredibly easy to create a summertime salad. [Read more…]

Mother’s Day Brunch

Mother’s Day is this Sunday and that means it is time for us all to be getting our brunch recipes ready. Brunch combines all of the best things about both breakfast and lunch and wraps them into one amazing meal. [Read more…]

Women and Wine of the World International Competition 2012

Women from 28 different nationalities from Japan to Burkina Faso, with a quarter from France (expected, if one considers Régine’s roots and the tradition of the profession – she is an oenologist) gathered for the event where around 300 wines that were entered, were judged according to international standards and the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC). [Read more…]

Ornellaia’s Masseto: first Italian wine to be sold through the Place de Bordeaux

Tenuta dell’Ornellaia is to offer its Masseto wine through the Place de Bordeaux. It is the first Italian wine to be sold through this marketplace – traditionally the preserve of classified growths and a small number of foreign icon wines. [Read more…]

(Re)Discovering the Fifth Flavor Umami

The dark horse of our misunderstood taste buds, the elusive fifth flavor umami has recently risen into widespread culinary consciousness. Umami Burger, the first umami-concept restaurant in America, lures Los Angeles patrons with a menu that combines umami-rich ingredients for the ultimate savory experience available between two buns. [Read more…]

Where in the World Is My Wine?

Whether it’s wine for tonight’s supper or a case bought at auction, pristine provenance has never been more important. Winemakers want nothing more than for you to uncork the wine they made. [Read more…]

Parmigiano, Garlic and Zucchini Soup with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

I’m not sure what compells me to get up at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday to make garlic and zucchini soup, but it happened and I’m kind of happy it did. The truth of the matter is, I wake up often with an inspired thought about a certain ingredient and I can’t get it off my mind until I create with it. [Read more…]

Brasato al Barolo

If there is one dish that I crave on any cold winter night, it’s Brasato al Barolo. Brasato al Barolo hails from Piedmont, Italy, where pouring a bottle of Barolo into such a preparation probably seems like much less of a crime than it does here. However, I’m here to tell you that it is worth it. Also, the main ingredient, a beef chuck roast, is one of the most affordable cuts you can buy from your local butcher, which helps offset the price.

This is a dish of few ingredients and relatively easy preparation that delivers a hearty, warm, rich, savory, and all-round pleasing experience for your guests. It can be made the day before or the morning of and quickly reheated for service.

I have known many cooks that will substitute a bottle of Nebbiolo or Barbera for the Barolo in this preparation, but I beg you to try it with Barolo at least once. Somehow, the structure and nuances of the Barolo are imparted into every cell of the roast and turn out a flavor and mouth-feel that will impart itself on your palate-memory for a very long time.

Brasato al Barolo – recipe

Serves 6

  • 4 -5 pound chuck roast
  • 1 – 1 ½ bottles of Barolo (the leftover half makes for a good way to pass the cooking time)
  • 1 cup of beef or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of flour (for dredging)
  • 4 carrots (or six-to-eight baby carrots)
  • 3 stalks of celery (halved and cut into slices)
  • 2 onions (quartered)
  • 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 8 cloves of garlic (whole)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 sprig thyme (leaves only, woody stem removed)
  • 1 sprig of sage (stem removed)
  • 8 whole peppercorns
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T whole butter

(click on image to enlarge)

Note: I will refer to the meat as a roast (even though this is a braise) throughout the recipe. Also, when preparing your vegetables, remember that you will be serving them later, so be sure to make clean, measured cuts.

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees and allow the roast to rest out of the refrigerator for one hour so that it comes up to room temperature. Once ready, season the roast liberally with salt on all sides and dredge in flour. Shake off any excess flour before browning. Over a medium-high flame, place a large gauge steel-roasting dish (you can also use a stovetop safe earthenware vessel or Dutch oven). Add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and, when heated through, add the roast. Sear the roast on all sides (about two minutes on each side).

Once seared, move the roast to a platter off the stove. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Next, add the carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms and garlic to the pan with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat the vegetables in oil. Add the sage, thyme, porcini mushrooms, peppercorns and rosemary, and stir gently to combine. Once the vegetables have begun to take on color, remove them to a platter on the side, then place the roast back into the pan, followed immediately by the vegetables, put back in around it. Begin to pour the wine into the pan. Add enough beef stock to bring the liquid at least ¾ of the way to the top of the roast. Allow this mixture to come to a simmer and then cover lightly with a piece of aluminum foil. Place the pan into the center of your oven.

The meat should braise for three hours like this. However, it is important to turn the meat over each hour in order to allow a steady combination of moist and dry heat to permeate it. After turning the meat on the third hour, insert a thermometer into the center. You are looking for an internal temperature of 170 – 175 degrees.

Once the desired temperature has been reached, remove the roast from the pan and allow it to rest on a platter. Next, strain the cooking liquid from the vegetables, being careful not to damage them. Skim any excess fat from the top of the cooking liquid, then pour the cooking liquid into a wide pan and place over medium heat. The idea is to reduce the cooking liquid into a saucy consistency. Your own preferences are important here, I like to reduce the sauce to thick consistency, but you may prefer it a little looser. Once done, remove from the heat and add two tablespoons of whole butter (this adds a beautiful sheen and richness to the sauce). Stir to incorporate fully and season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you are serving it immediately, slice the roast and submerge the slices in the reduced sauce, then place over low heat for five to ten minutes. To plate, I like to serve this dish with a loose Parmigiano polenta and a sprig of rosemary. Serve and enjoy.

Alternatively, you can slice the roast, submerge it in the sauce and refrigerate until ready. Once ready, heat the sauce and add the slices back in once the sauce is warmed. Cook over low flame for five to ten minutes and serve.

After working in the New York City restaurant scene, Eric Guido branched out, organizing private dining and tasting events centered around Italian cuisine and wine. Here he began to incorporate food photography and recipe development. His continuing work can be seen at Eric’s passion for food and wine is fueled by the togetherness and satisfaction found at the table.


Creating Your New Year’s Cellar

With the New Year upon us, we tend to be a resolute bunch. Many of our resolutions revolve around self-betterment, peace on earth and fitting into old jeans. You know, those same old unattainable things we like to devote several days of effort to each New Year! [Read more…]