Tag Archives: italian wine

A Mushroom Wine Pairing

Photo by Chip Riegel

The humble mushroom is a cook’s best friend, given its amazing flavor and texture, versatility and nearly year-around availability in local farmer’s markets. It’s also beloved in the wine world as it has a natural affinity for so many different wine grapes and styles.

When pairing wine with mushrooms, consider their power: delicate varieties (the chanterelle, the oyster, for example) play best with light to medium bodied wines. Meaty ‘shrooms (portobello) love big, bold styles.

For the following dish of blue oyster mushrooms roasted with grape tomatoes and tarragon (from the Winter 2015 edition of Edible Rhody), we zeroed in on the texture of the mushrooms: roasting adds a richness to their delicate nature, calling for a medium-bodied wine. We also wanted to complement the dish’s other ingredients and aromatics: tomatoes and tarragon. And for this we turned to Italy for a white and a red that work well with acid and herbs.


2014 Cantine Colosi, Nero d’Avola, Sicily There’s a supple cherry fruitiness in this medium-bodied bottle that is a lovely balance to the oyster mushroom’s delicate earthiness, and its menthol finish is just delicious with the dish’s tarragon notes. The nero d’avola grape – the superstar of Sicily – is a natural match for tomatoes.

2013 Argillae Orvieto, Umbria This blend is a beautiful example of the savory white wines Italy is known for. It has floral and tropical notes that add a brightness to the roasted dish, but it is its savory, almond notes that we prize with the mushroom’s earthy flavor and the warm licorice aromas from the tarragon.

Co-owner Bob DiPietro, RI Mushroom Co., South Kingstown

Just about any type of fresh herbs can be used in this recipe—just be careful they don’t overwhelm the dish. Use less of stronger herbs like rosemary or sage than you would basil or tarragon. You can also substitute different mushrooms or opt for a mix. (Total cooking time may vary.)  Bottles’ Note: we like to use tarragon in this dish, and think it’s sublime served over pasta.

¾–1 pound (5–6 cups) blue oyster mushrooms
1 cup (½ pint) grape tomatoes, washed and halved
2–3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1–2 tablespoons red wine or cider vinegar*
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons mix of chopped fresh tarragon, thyme or Italian flat leaf parsley, divided
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or brush with olive oil.
Trim off woody stems of the mushrooms and reserve for another use (a terrific addition to homemade stock). Shred the remaining mushrooms lengthwise into a large bowl.

Add tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, garlic and 1 tablespoon herbs. Toss well.

Arrange the mixture in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, turning halfway through to ensure even browning.

Remove from oven, add remaining herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste. (I always add salt at the very end whenever cooking mushrooms, otherwise they will exude their natural juices.)

May be served as a side dish, tossed with pasta or as a topping for steak or burgers. Serves 4.

* Instead of vinegar you can use pickle brine. I highly recommend the pickle brines from Rhode Island’s own Fox Point Pickling Co.

Cheers and Bon Appetit!



Gourds Galore! Italian White Wine Pairing & Butternut Squash Purée

The brisk air is coming and the holidays are closer than we want to admit, so get a jump start on those recipes and test them out now! A great side dish and accompaniment especially to Thanksgiving is Puréed Butternut Squash with Sage and Parmesan. Especially since winter squash is best from October to November.

Creamy, sweet, and earthy this butternut squash dish will go wonderfully with a nice chilled glass of Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi Bianco. Full of stone fruit, licorice and mineral notes, this well-structured Italian white will enhance the richness and hints of sage in the dish.

Food and Wine Pairing - Butternut Squash and an Italian White


Butternut Squash
Modern day squash developed from the wild squash that originated in an area between Guatemala and Mexico. It has been consumed for over 10,000 years, but was first cultivated for their seeds instead of their bitter flesh. As time progressed and the squash cultivation spread, varieties with a sweeter-tasting flesh were developed and consumed specifically for their flesh.

A variety of winter squash, Butternut squash is shaped like a large pear with cream-colored skin, orange flesh ,and a sweet, nutty flavor similar to that of a pumpkin. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange and acquires a richer, sweeter taste. Used in all areas of the kitchen it can be roasted, toasted, puréed for soups, mashed, or used in casseroles, breads, and muffins. Butternut squash is also a great source of obtaining your vitamins this chilly season!

Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi Blanco

Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi Bianco
Located on Italy’s west Coast, Mastroberardino is Campania’s most renowned winery and has been the most important player in preserving the vinous heritage of the region. The winery was established in the 1750s by famed winemaker Pietro di Mastro Berardino, and with his family, has always searched out and resuscitated native grape varietals that phylloxera diminished. Some of these grapes include Aglianico, Falanghina, Fianco, Piedirosso, Greco and Coda di Volpe. Ten generations later they are still producing the most amazing wines with indigenous grapes and was recently appointed to reintroduce vine growing to the ancient city of Pompeii.

Translated as “tears of Christ” the story behind the name of Lacryma Christi is that when God found a corner of Heaven stolen by Lucifer, He cried and where his tears fell, there grew the grapes, Coda di Volpe, that make Lacryma Christi.

Lacryma Christi Bianco is pale yellow in color, with aromas of pear and tree fruits that are complimented by hints of white peach and licorice. The palate is full of minerality, structure, and body that makes this a very food-friendly wine.

Puréed Butternut Squash with Sage and Parmesan
Yield: 2-4 servings
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 hour

1 small butternut squash
1 Tbsp butter, melted
2 oz. crème fraiche
2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
4 – 5 fresh sage leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method of Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Slice the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds.

3. Rub the insides with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.

4. On a foil or parchment lined sheet pan, lay the squash cut side down and tuck a few sage leaves into the cavity of each squash.

5. Place the squash in the oven and roast until it is very soft and fork tender, about 35 – 40 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside until it has cooled enough to handle.

6. Scoop out the flesh and place in a food processor with the crème fraiche, half the Parmesan cheese and blend until silky smooth. Add salt and pepper as needed.

7. Fill deep serving or baking dishes with the mixture and sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheese. Bake until golden brown and warm throughout, about 15 minutes.

8. Serve warm.

– By Kimberly Vroegindewey



Pumpkin Bumpkin

Well, Fall has finally arrived and we are celebrating with a heaping bowl of the must-have seasonal flavor: pumpkin! (pumpkin orzo with sage, to be exact).

Round, earthy, slightly sweet and versatile, it always seems like no one can ever get enough of this orange squash. We thought we would help you out by adding one more recipe to that list.

If you are even considering trying this recipe, make sure to pick up a bottle of Suavia Soave Classico — an Italian wine of great depth and unmistakable character that will transport you to the hills of Soave. It pairs well not only with the Pumpkin Orzo with Sage, but also with any pasta, gnocchi, or fish that is being served with a hearty vegetable or bean.


Classified as a winter squash, the oldest evidence of pumpkin related fruit dates between 7000 BC and 5500 BC in Mexico. Pumpkins are grown all around the world for commercial use, agricultural purposes, and ornamental sales. The largest producers of the winter squash are the United States, Canada, Mexico, India and China.

When first cut, pumpkins tend to have a vegetal, buttery smell. When roasted or cooked, they have more of a malty, sweetness. Used mainly for food and recreational purposes in the United States, pumpkins have established themselves as a part of tradition and society. What is Cinderella without her coach, Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, Halloween without Jack-o-lanterns or fall without pumpkin beers?

I challenge you to find a new or unusual pumpkin recipe, and attempt it. You may find a new favorite!

Suavia Soave Classico

suaviasoaveclassico copy
Located in the tiny village of Fittà, “mounted like a precious stone in the high green Soave Classico hills covered with vines and olives”, the Tessari family has lived and worked the land since the 19th century. It wasn’t until 1982, when Giovanni and Rosetta Tessari decided to produce their own wine, that the history of Suavia really began.  Now run by their four daughters who are inspired and taught by the nature around them, they produce significant Italian wines that are reflective of the terroir and region.

The principal and most widespread white grape variety in Soave, Garganega is easier to grow and has become very popular because of its generous yield. It has a natural delicacy and elegance that if grown properly, it develops firm mineral notes and a good structure.

The Suavia Soava Classico is fresh, fruity and easy to drink with aromas of apple, pear and hawthorn intermingled with hints of citrus and minerals. The palate is very juicy and creamy with a savory and satisfying finish of continual freshness. It is a wine for flowered terraces, dinner on cobblestone squares, and pastas with hearty vegetables.

Pumpkin Orzo with Sage

Yield: 4 servings

8 oz. Orzo
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup whole milk
30 sage leaves cut into ribbons
1 shallot, diced
1 Tbsp butter
3/4 tsp salt
Black pepper, ground
3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

Method of Preparation
1. If you are using a fresh pumpkin, slice it in half lengthwise and place cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until tender. Allow it to cool and then scoop out the meat with a spoon and puree it in a food processor until smooth.

2.  In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups of broth and 3 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add orzo and return to a boil. Cook for 9 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Drain and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, saute the shallots and sage in butter for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add 3/4 cups of broth and 1/2 cup of milk. Simmer for another 5 minutes.

4. Add the pumpkin puree to the simmering broth and stir well. Add salt, pepper and remaining 3/4 cups of broth. Reduce the heat and simmer on medium low for 10 to 12 minutes, or until sauce reaches desired consistency.

5. Stir in the parmesan cheese, toss with the orzo and serve. Source

Go forth and cook away! Enjoy the first days of fall!


by Kimberly Vroegindeweij

3 Spring Recipes & Italian Wine Pairings

Spring is on its way, and with it comes fresh, light dishes and wines to pair with them. If you are in the Providence area, stop by our store to check out our newest food and wine pairings display, The Spring Table. We’ve picked a few Italian wines to match springtime dishes by Edible Rhody magazine. Keep reading for: white wines from Friuli to with with a light, lemon-scented risotto; mint, frisee, and fava beans mingling to match Alto Adige’s expressive whites and lighter style reds; and Veneto wines to drink with a swordfish dish topped with an easy sauce of tomato, olive, and capers. Food photos and recipes are by Edible Rhody.

Lemon Scented Pea Risotto
A delicate risotto to match these Friuli wines.
FRIULI-VENEZIA GIULIA: Located in the very northeast corner of Italy, Friuli is bordered by Veneto to the west, Slovenia to the east and the Adriatic Sea to the south.  With lots of mountains and mostly cool temperatures, wines from Friuli tend to be very light and crisp, making them perfect matches with lighter foods.  

Fantinel Ribolla Gialla
Indigenous to Friuli, this rare wine has a stunning Ying/Yang profile of lush tropical fruits and tart citrus in a rich, full bodied style with a nutty, savory finish. Complex and engaging flavors, but not too much to overpower the delicate risotto.

Cormons Pinot Grigio Friuli Isonzo
A rich and luxurious styled Pinot-Grigio – not thin and watered down. Dense flavors of lemon custard and white flowers with a brilliant acidity that comes across as undeniably seductive and impossible to ignore. 

Risotto Recipe
By Cindy Salvato, Rhode Island Market Tours

1 large shallot, minced
1 Tbsp lemon flavored olive oil
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
4 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth, simmering over low heat
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly shucked peas
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh pea tendrils (optional)
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)

In a 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, cook the shallots in the oil for 3 minutes; stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Add the rice and cook for 3 minutes; stir constantly. Add ½ cup of broth and stir until it has been absorbed into the rice. Continue adding the remaining broth ½-cup at a time; this will take approximately 15 minutes. When all the broth has been added, stir in the lemon zest, cheese, and several grinds of pepper, peas and lemon juice. Transfer into shallow bowls and garnish with pea tendrils. Serve with grated cheese. Makes 5 ½ cups. Serves 4.

Pecorino Toscana & Fava Bean Salad
A spring salad with mint & frisee, paired with white wines from Alto Adige

ALTO ADIGE: Italy’s northern most wine region has steep, sun-drenched slopes, mineral rich soils, and a long ripening season that provide ideal conditions for crafting world-class wines. Sharing a cultural heritage with Austria, this region, also known as Sudtirol, is well known for stunning and expressive whites and lighter styled, focused reds.

Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco

The richness and body of Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco will remind you of Chardonnay, with additional apple and floral characteristics. This wine pairs well this fresh bean salad recipe, providing a rich foil to the full flavors of the salty cheese and the bitterness of the frisse.

Alois Lageder Muller Thurgau
A hybrid of Riesling and Silvaner, this may be the best wine you’ve never heard of. Alois Lageder Muller Thurgau is medium bodied, with flavors of fresh, ripe stone fruits, and hints of nutmeg and white flowers. A heavenly wine that will pair very well with the mint element of the salad.

Fava Bean Salad Recipe
Chef/Owner Brian Kingford, Bacaro
12 ounces (1½ cups) fava beans, skin on, removed from pods
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of kosher salt
Capezzana or other estate-grown extra-virgin olive oil as needed
5 ounces (¾ cup) of Pecorino Toscano, cubed into ¼-inch dice
6 leaves fresh mint, cut in fine julienne
4 cups mâche, washed and dried
1 head frisee, washed and dried
Fresh-cracked black pepper
Blanch the fava beans in boiling water for 1 minute; cool and then remove skins. Whisk together the lemon juice, salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the beans, Pecorino and mint and toss to coat. Divide the bean mixture among six plates, creating a well in the center of each. Divide mâche and frisee evenly and nestle into the wells. Drizzle each salad with additional olive oil and add a pinch of black pepper. Serves 6. *Note: Baby Boston or Bibb lettuce can be substituted if mache isn’t available.
Swordfish with Tomato, Olive, & Caper Sauce
Try this simple dish with a white and red wine from Veneto.
VENETO: In the north-east of Italy, this region is best known for Prosecco, Amarone and Soave. Warm and sunny, Veneto produces a significant amount of wine, from light and easy whites to concentrated, rich, full-bodied reds.

Inama Soave
Soave is the region, Garganega is the grape. This is a great food wine because its flavors are more savory than fruity. Expect roasted almonds and wild flowers, like chamomile and elderflowers. A perfect pairing with the meaty, rich Swordfish and Tomato Sauce.

Scaia Corvina
Corvina is one of the primary grapes used to make Amarone and Ripasso wines. This wine has beautiful aromas and flavors of red flowers, black cherries and raspberries. Medium bodied – not too heavy – this wine will not overpower the flavor of the swordfish, but will not shrink away from the Tomato and Caper Sauce.

Swordfish Recipe
By Cindy Salvato, Rhode Island Market Tours

This sauce is very easy to make and it is versatile too. If you are in the mood for mussels or clams, simply put the shellfish in the sauce, place over medium heat, cover and let them steam open.

2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped pitted Sicilian or Kalamata olives
2 tsp brined capers, drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
6 to 4-6 oz. pieces of fresh swordfish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Do not let the garlic burn. Add the olives, capers, and tomatoes. Simmer lightly for 10 minutes. Cover and remove from heat. Brush baking sheet with olive oil and arrange the fish on it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; bake for 10-12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. To serve, place a piece of fish on each dish and spoon the sauce over the fish. Serve any left over sauce on the side. Serves 6.