Pairings: Try this delicate zinfandel with pasta, meat
Our Wine of the Week, Bella Grace Vineyards 2016 Amador County Old Vine Zinfandel ($29), is a subtle zinfandel, pretty, delicate and bright, with a foundation of gentle oak and sweet spices, especially white pepper, allspice and the slightest kiss of star anise.
Fruit flavors range from purple raspberries to Queen Anne cherries. Thereʻs an engaging juiciness to the wine and a finish that reverberates until your next sip. It is a mature wine, with a pleasant depth of flavor, but it is neither ponderous nor heavy. It is light on its feet and welcomes a wonderful array of foods alongside.
Chile Colorado, provided it is not too spicy, is a great match, as are the foods you’d expect to go with such a wine, polenta with Bolognese or sausages braised in red wine, spaghetti and meatballs, spareribs, braised short ribs, roast turkey, pasta with mushrooms and cream, and meatloaf, especially duck or goat meatloaf. Sweet potatoes are a good match, too, as are roasted sweet peppers and roasted game hens.
Winter squash is a good companion to this lovely wine. Mild curried winter squash — red curry, not green curry — with spinach is a fabulous match and you’ll enjoy the wine with pumpkin-beef stew, too. If our fall weather has you craving beef Bourguignon, enjoy it with this wine for a fantastic fall feast.
Today’s recipe is inspired by the season and by that classic dish, Spaghetti Carbonara (with apologies to purists).
Spaghetti Squash Carbonara
Makes 4 to 6 servings
6 cups, approximately, cooked spaghetti squash, hot (see Note below)
6 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into ¼-inch-wide crosswise strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 large eggs from pastured hens, at room temperature
6 ounces grated cheese, such as Vella Mezzo Secco
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
— Kosher salt
— Black pepper in a mill
Prepare the spaghetti squash if you have not already done so. Set it aside and keep it hot.
Put the bacon into a medium sauté pan set over medium heat and cook, turning now and then, until almost but not quite crisp. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat, add the garlic, cook for 1 minute more, and remove from the heat.
Put the eggs into a large warmed bowl and whisk until very smooth. Fold in the cheese and a very generous amount of black pepper.
Fold in the bacon mixture and half the Italian parsley.
Warm soup plates and set them on a clean work surface.
Tip the hot spaghetti squash (reheat as needed) into the bowl with the other ingredients and use two forks to lift and turn it until is evenly coated. Taste, correct for salt, and divide among the warmed soup plates.
Add several turns of black pepper to each portion, garnish with the remaining parsley, and enjoy right away.
Note: You’ll need a spaghetti squash that weighs about 2½ to 3 pounds. The fastest way to prepare is to steam it. To do so, cut the squash in half lengthwise and then cut each half into 2 or 3 pieces. Set the squash on the rack or basket of a steamer set over simmering water, cover and cook until tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes.
Remove the spaghetti squash from the steamer or oven, let cool until easy to handle, scrape out the seeds, and use a fork to scrape the flesh in long strokes; it will pretty much shred itself.
Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date. Email her at email@example.com.