Pairing: Pinot shines with mushroom bread pudding

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Our Wine of the Week, MacRostie 2017 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($34), is a translucent treasure. As it falls into the glass, it’s all liquid garnet beauty, a delicacy that is echoed on the palate. Fruit is ample but restrained, with threads of Rainier cherry, pomegranate and cranberry mingling with black pepper and, surprisingly, the slightest whisper of marshmallow. Tannins are fully resolved, and the finish reverberates gently.

The wine is remarkably food friendly. Carrot fritters, triple cream cheeses, baked sweet potatoes, roasted root vegetables and simple roasted chicken all make perfect companions. But to make the match soar, think duck: Duck meatballs with sweet spices, duck and mushroom meatloaf, duck confit with flageolets, cassoulet. For today’s recipe, here’s a dish that can be a centerpiece or it can serve as a bed for grilled duck breast. The mushrooms engage with and enhance the wine’s earthy qualities.

Savory Bread Pudding with Mushrooms & Mushroom Beurre Rouge

Serves 4 to 8

2½ tablespoons butter

1 shallot, minced

1 ounce pancetta, minced

1 pound specialty mushrooms (see note below)

1 cup dry white wine

— Kosher salt

1 loaf sourdough hearth bread, preferably 3 or 4 days old

½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

10 ounces Joe Matos St. George Cheese, grated

6 large farm eggs

— Whole nutmeg

— Black pepper in a mill

2½ cups whole milk

— Beurre Rouge (recipe follows)

Set aside about ½ tablespoon of butter. Put the remaining butter into a large sauté pan set over medium heat; when it is melted, add the shallot and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 7 minutes.

Add the pancetta, stir to separate the pieces, and cook until it just loses its raw look, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, turn to coat them with butter, and cook gently until they begin to wilt. Add the wine, cover the pan, and cook for about 7 or 8 minutes, until the mushrooms are fully wilted. Season with salt, remove from the heat, and set aside.

Tear the bread into chunks and put it into a large bowl. Set aside about ¼ cup of the mushrooms and add the rest to the bowl along with the parsley and the cheese, and toss thoroughly. Set aside.

Break the eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl and then tip each one into a large mixing bowl. Use a sturdy whisk to whip the eggs until smooth. Add several gratings of nutmeg and a dozen generous turns of black pepper to the eggs, along with a generous teaspoon of salt. Add the milk and mix thoroughly. Pour the custard mixture over the bread mixture and toss gently. Let rest for about 5 minutes.

Coat the inside of a 2-quart baking dish with the reserved butter. Tip the pudding into the dish, cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and as long as overnight.

Remove the pudding from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When the oven reaches full heat, set the dish on the middle rack, leaving it covered. Bake for 30 minutes and then remove the aluminum foil. Continue to cook for 5 to 15 minutes, until the pudding has puffed up and top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

As the pudding cools, make the beurre rouge. To serve, cut into wedges, set on individual plates, spoon beurre rouge on top. Note: If you can, use chanterelles, brushed clean and broken into pieces, oyster mushrooms or Maitake. Whichever you use, break them into small pieces. Do not use standard button, white, or crimini mushrooms, as they have too much liquid for this dish.

Mushroom Beurre Rouge

Makes about ½ cup

¼ cup sautéed mushrooms

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ cup dry red wine

— Kosher salt

— Black pepper in a mill

½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces and chilled

Put the mushrooms into a small saucepan; if they seem a bit big, break them into smaller pieces. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and red wine, set over medium heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced to just about 2 tablespoons. Season with salt and put the heat on the lowest possible setting. Add a piece of butter and whisk until it is incorporated into the mushroom base. Continue adding butter and mixing until all the butter is incorporated. Remove from the heat and cover the pan. Keep warm by setting in a pan or bowl of hot water until ready to use.

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