Our Wine of the Week, <strong>Pedroncelli 2012 Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay</strong> ($14), is a great quaffer to have around as summer slides into fall.
Its richness, combined with flavors of baked apple, ripe pear and honeydew melon, mirrors the flavors and textures of the season.
Add the little wisps of toast that weave through the wine and next thing you know you're thinking about the first fire of the season or how you've always wanted an outdoor wood-burning oven.
The wine is lovely with all things corn, from corn on the cob slathered with basil butter to corn chowder, cheese grits, creamy polenta and polenta souffl?. It is excellent with pear and chicken salad, apple and bacon chowder, pork tenderloin with pear chutney, sea scallops and wild Pacific King salmon.
This wine is also excellent with classic risotto Milanese, made with bone marrow and saffron.
Today's recipe is inspired by one in Deborah Madison's classic "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" (Broadway Books, 1997).
Here, I've combined two of Madison's variations — adding cheese, adding roasted peppers — to create a layer of lusciousness that resonates beautifully with the wine.
<strong>Savory Cheese-Filled Noodle Cake with Roasted Sweet Peppers</strong>
<em> Makes 4 to 6 servings</em>
2 teaspoons hot water
— Pinch of saffron threads
— Kosher salt
12 ounces dry spaghettini
3 large eggs, beaten
— Black pepper in a mill
2 ounces (1/2 cup) grated Vella Dry Jack or similar cheese
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
3 large sweet peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
2 garlic cloves, slivered
3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
8 ounces Italian Fontina cheese, cubed or shredded
Put the hot water into a small bowl, add the saffron threads and set aside.
Fill a large saucepan two-thirds full with water, season generously with salt and bring to a boil over high heat.
Cook the spaghettini until al dente, drain, rinse and drain again very thoroughly. Set aside briefly.
Put the beaten eggs into a large bowl, season with salt and several turns of black pepper and add the cheese, parsley and saffron water. Mix thoroughly, add the pasta and toss until the pasta is evenly coated. Set aside.
Cut the peppers into medium julienne, transfer to a medium bowl, add the slivered garlic, season with salt and pepper and toss well.
Set a nonstick 10-inch saute pan over medium heat, add half the olive oil or butter and set over medium heat.
When the oil is hot or the butter is melted, add half the spaghettini mixture, press it into the pan and even the edges.
Spread the roasted peppers over the noodles, top with the cheese and add the remaining spaghettini on top.
Pat down the noodles and cook over medium heat until the bottom begins to take on some color, about 5 minutes.
Carefully slip the noodle cake onto a plate, add the remaining oil or butter to the pan and then carefully invert the noodle cake into the pan.
Cook until it is golden and beginning to develop a bit of a crust, about 5 to 7 minutes more.
Transfer to a platter, cut in wedges and serve hot or at room temperature.
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