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Winter squash gnocchi with Sebastiani chardonnay

Our Wine of the Week, Sebastiani Vineyards 2010 Sonoma County Chardonnay ($13), is a workhorse kind of wine, especially in the fall, when its full rich flavors mirror the flavors of the season.

This wine is a classic California chardonnay, with a buttery warmth suggestive of toasted bread. Depending on how active your imagination is, this quality can influence your perception of the wine's considerable fruit.

Apple flavors may suggest apple butter slathered on that toast. A fillip of lemon paired with that butter may make you think of toast topped with lemon curd and creme fraiche and a suggestion of burnt sugar, while the wine's creamy texture could evoke Smucker's Butterscotch Topping.

These elements, while bold on their own, are subtle and balanced.

When it comes to pairing the wine, now is an easy time. The last of the year's tomatoes, the first of the year's winter squashes, ripe figs, chanterelles and quince poached in honey are all good companions, as are wild salmon, pork tenderloin and chicken breast.

Today's recipe features gnocchi made with winter squash, which resonates beautifully with the wine. Browned butter mirrors its toasty quality, creme fraiche adds a plushness and toasted breadcrumbs tie it all together.

Winter Squash Gnocchi with Browned Butter, Creme Fraiche and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Makes 6 to 8 servings


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