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Category: CONTORNI | SIDES

This classic Italian method of cooking spinach epitomizes the simplicity yet deliciousness of how a few quality ingredients can create something extraordinary. This quick and easy side dish compliments fish, poultry, and meat. I enjoy drinking a glass of Valente Emozione No. 1 with these hearty-garlicky greens. The acidity in this Montonico from Abruzzo brings out the freshness in the spinach and garlic.

In Lombardia, the northern region in Italy where I lived, they are known for its delicious green stalks of Asparagi, asparagus. It grows like wildflowers and therefore is a staple in the regional cuisine. Asparagus is often regarded as a complicated wine to pair food with, but I have the perfect match. Madrevite Il Reminore is 100% Trebbiano Spoleto grape variety from the green hills of Umbria. The citrus notes complement this dish and counter the grassy notes of the asparagus.

 

To make this vegan-friendly, substitute the Parmesan cheese and butter with a vegan option. I use Violife Plant-Based Parmesan cheese and Miyokos European Cultured Butter.

Liguria is home to the famed pesto sauce. The traditional Ligurian pesto has just fresh garlic, fresh basil, lightly toasted pine nuts, good quality EVOO, and aged Parmesan. Check out the variations of pesto recipes in our recipe library and choose whichever one best suits you or your pantry when you are ready to turn these everyday ho-hum green beans into something spectacular! These beans are great served warm or cold. I always double this recipe, so I have yummy leftovers available to toss with pasta the day after. Be sure to pair these savory legumes with a crisp cool glass of Madrevite Elve, a 100% Grechetto from the green rolling hills of Umbria.

Last fall, I spent quite a bit of time in Emilia Romagna, the world’s food capital and home to Parmigiano Reggiano. While we were there, we visited the 4 Madonne Parmesan factory. I asked the tour guide if she ever grew tired of eating Parmesan, and she replied,  “that would be impossible”! In fact, she eats it and cooks with it every day. One of her favorite comforts food is this simple potato puree’. She admitted she always makes extra to make Crochette di Patate, potato croquettes. Have a beautiful glass of Capitoni’s Orcia Riserva to complement this yummy dish.

In my opinion, grilled vegetables tossed in EVOO and lemon juice is simplicity at its finest. I especially enjoy grilling asparagus at the height of its freshness in spring and summer. Spearing asparagus stalks with skewers makes it easier to flip and grill evenly on both sides. I always enjoy a chilled glass of Grechetto wine because it pairs so beautifully with asparagus, famously tough to match. Madrevite Elve’ solves the asparagus matching conundrum and takes this meal to new heights.

If you like Brussels sprouts as much as I do, you must try this dish. It’s quite easy, and the end product is perfectly roasted sprouts with a sweet and tangy balsamic glaze. It yields luscious caramelized Brussels sprouts that will convert even the most skeptic.

Brussels sprouts belong to the Brassica family of plants, which also include cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and turnips. All are notoriously tough to pair with wine, however, I found this recipe pairs beautifully with Poggio Grande’s Tagete, a combination of Marsanne and Rousanne recognized for its vegetal undertones and ability to complement cruciferous vegetables.

Butternut squash’s natural sweetness is its most remarkable feature. When roasted, its natural sugars combined with balsamic vinegar create the most divine caramelization, enhancing the flavor and elevating this humble vegetable to new heights. The roasted sage leaves, garlic cloves, and generous drizzles of balsamic vinegar add layers of rich flavor to this otherwise simple recipe. This is a comforting fall side dish, but I also love it leftover cold and chopped and tossed into a green salad topped with a sprinkle of walnuts pieces. However you decide to serve this healthy and delicious recipe, be sure to pair it with a crisp, dry wine such as Centanni’s Falerio, a beautifully balanced blend of Pecorino, Passerina, and Trebbiano grapes from the Le Marche region.

Earthy mushrooms sauteed with Sicilian Marsala wine until a glorious glossy sauce appears is my interpretation of divine deliciousness. I often serve these savory mushrooms as a side dish; however, they are very scrumptious tossed with your favorite pasta. Don’t forget the vino!! Poggio Grande Scorbutico is a lovely wine to pair with this dish.

Crispy, salty, and slightly sweet Brussel sprouts cooked with pancetta is the only way I can get my family to eat this cabbage-like vegetable. The trick is to get an almost carmelized exterior, extra browned, which the pancetta fat helps to achieve effortlessly. The end result is a crunchy outside with a tender inside. A refreshing glass of Valente Emozione No 1 100% Montonico is the perfect wine to serve with this recipe.

 

 

To make this vegan friendly omit the pancetta and add an extra tablespoon of EVOO.

This is another incognito vegetable I sneak in to get my family to eat cauliflower. Once golden brown and mingled in with roasted garlic cloves, green olives, spicy habanero peppers and tossed with sea salt these florets are devoured with gusto. I like to pair a crisp and refreshing white wine from Umbria like a 100% Grechetto Madrevite Elve’.

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