Wine Night: Red Zin Bucatini + a Poached Egg

Wine Night:  Red Zin Bucatini + a Poached Egg

I’ve been wanting to cook pasta in red wine for a while now.  I think I first saw it on one of those step-by-step videos on my Facebook feed.  I kind of forgot about it until I was looking at Foodgawker and found this recipe for bucatini cooked in red wine with an egg on it.  I combined that recipe with a Giada recipe where the pasta actually sounded a little better.  And I added my own touch with my current favorite specialty ingredient:  Calabria Chili Paste.  I’ve used it in my recipe for Pasta all’Amatriciana, among other things.  It’s a little pricey, but it’s so good.  Calabria chili paste is basically a spread of hot peppers and olive oil.  If you don’t want to buy it or don’t own it, just substitute crushed red pepper flakes.  But I think it’s fun trying out new ingredients.

This pasta dish marks the first time I’ve ever actually had bucatini and the first time in years I’ve cooked with white pasta.  I also couldn’t find bucatini at any grocery store, so I ordered it on Amazon.  All that being said, I really had high hopes for this dish.  Thank goodness it did not disappoint.  I mean, it was actually super fabulous, and a great grown up pasta dish.  Now I that I have 4 more boxes of bucatini, I want to try it with carbonara and a beef short rib ragu and probably with my amatriciana sauce.  I think heavy and/or spicy sauces will do really well with bucatini.  If you don’t know, bucatini is a long pasta that looks like spaghetti.  The difference is that bucatini is hollow in the middle.  It makes for a really chewy pasta and perfect when cooked al dente.

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Our activity:  We painted wine glasses to use at our future wine nights.  Mine is on the left, Lisa’s in the middle, Laura’s on the right.

I got to make this for the first time at my monthly girls’ wine night with two of my favorite girlfriends, Lisa and Laura.  We always have so much fun together.  This time, we each brought a Red Zinfandel and paired a dish with it.  I used a cheaper bottle to cook the pasta in, and a better bottle to drink with it.

This recipe calls for a poached egg.  If you are nervous about poaching eggs, you’re not alone!  If I haven’t done it in a while, I get really nervous too.  But really, it’s just eggs, they’re like a $1.50 for 12.  That said, I will lay it out for you as best I can, so your eggs will turn out.  If you don’t like poached eggs, the pasta is great on its own, but the runny egg adds extra creaminess that fits perfectly with the zesty pasta.  Here we go…

Total Time:  1 hour

Serves: 6

Difficulty Level:  Medium

Ingredients

 

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right before the money shot –there’s only one chance to get it right!

1 pound bucatini pasta

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons of Calabria chili paste

1 750 ml size bottle of red zinfandel (I used Rex Goliath for this…it’s like $5 a bottle)

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

3 tablespoons of butter

1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Freshly grated asiago cheese

1 poached egg per person, recipe follows

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the bucatini, and cook for 5 minutes, or until about half done (parcooked).
  2. Drain the pasta (Now, Giada’s recipe says to reserve some pasta water, which I did. But I didn’t end up needing it).  In the same pot over medium heat, add the olive oil.  Add the garlic and chili paste, and saute for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the bottle of red zinfandel and the tomato paste. Bring it up to a simmer at medium-high heat.  Cook uncovered for a minute or 2, and break up the paste along the way to make sure it’s not clumpy.
  4. Bring down the heat to medium, and add the pasta back to the pot.
  5. Stir frequently with tongs, and cook until most of the wine has absorbed and the pasta is now al dente. If you think the pasta looks too dry, you may add some of the reserved pasta water to the dish.  (I didn’t end up adding any pasta water back).
  6. Add the butter and chopped parsley, and toss to coat and combine thoroughly.
  7. Serve with a warm, runny, creamy poached egg on top, if you’re into that. My poaching technique is as follows:

Poached Egg Technique

  1. Use a shallow pan, and fill it up with water about 1 ½ to 2 inches with water. Pour plenty of salt in the water.
  2. Heat it up over medium heat, or until you see small bubbles rising to the top, but do not let it come to a full-on boil.
  3. Crack one egg into a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, create a whirlpool in the center of the pan.
  5. Holding the bowl at an angle right over the water (as close as you can), very gently drop the egg in the center of the whirlpool.
  6. Watch the egg cook for about 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully and jiggle it gently to see when the white has set, but the center is still liquid.
  7. Using the slotted spoon again, gently lift the egg out of the water and slide it onto the pasta.

(inspired by both Running to the Kitchen and Giada De Laurentiis)

 


Wine Night: Arugula Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette + Goat Cheese Medallions

Arugula Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette + Goat Cheese Medallions 4

Such a long name for a recipe.  But I wanted to make sure the best components are mentioned in the title.  The salad itself isn’t much of a recipe, but it’s more of a vehicle to show you how to make goat cheese medallions and honey lemon vinaigrette.  You can put them to use in any way you want, but a simple salad is a nice backdrop to put the big flavors front and center.

I came up with this salad for a wine tasting party at my girlfriend’s house.  I had never done a tasting before, so I looked up which flavors went best with the wine I chose, Sauvignon Blanc.  I like Sauvignon Blanc because it’s light, but dry.  It’s a zesty wine that goes well with citrus, seafood, and salty cheese. 

I’ve been making this lemon vinaigrette for a long time and only modified it slightly for this recipe.  It’s a pretty standard recipe, and you can use the proportions to make any vinaigrette.  You can use any citrus juice (or even pineapple), or you can use vinegar, or a mix of both.  Simple!

I’d always wanted to do goat cheese medallions ever since my days at Carrabba’s.  My favorite salad there comes with a hazelnut-crusted medallion, and it is to die for.  I was worried about the cheese becoming too soft when I was working with it or oozing out while frying.  But the trick is to work with it in stages and chill it in between.  The other trick is to use unwaxed dental floss to cut the goat cheese.  If you try to cut it with a knife, it will make quite a mess.

Now for the recipes.

Arugula Salad

Total Time:  15 minutes

Difficulty Level:  Easy

Serves:  4

Ingredients

½ cup pecans

1 pear

1 shallot

4 cups arugula

5 leaves of fresh torn basil

1/3 cup Honey Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

4 Goat Cheese Medallions (recipe follows)

  1. Toast the pecans on a dry pan in a toaster oven for about 3-5 minutes.  Watch them closely so they don’t burn.  It really doesn’t take long at all.
  2. Slice the pear thinly. Slice the shallot thinly.
  3. In a large salad bowl, toss the pecans, shallot, arugula, and basil with the vinaigrette.
  4. Arrange the pears around the top and place the goat cheese medallions in the center.

Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

Total Time:  5 minutes

Difficulty Level:  Easy

Serves: 8

Ingredients

Zest and juice of 4 lemons

½ finely minced shallot

2 tablespoons of honey

1 teaspoon of white pepper

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

  1. Add all ingredients to a mason jar, and shake vigorously.  Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Goat Cheese Medallions

Total Time:  2 hours (hands on time 30 minutes)

Difficulty Level:  Intermediate

Serves:  10

Ingredients

1-10 ounce log of very cold goat cheese

1 egg

¾ cup panko bread crumbs

Olive oil, for frying

  1. Using unwaxed dental floss, cut the very cold goat cheese log into ¼ inch medallions.
  2. In one shallow dish, beat the egg. In another dish, pour the panko bread crumbs.  Acting as if you’re breading anything else for frying, first put each medallion in the egg, gently rotating it to evenly coat.  Repeat in the panko bread crumbs.
  3. Place the prepared medallions on a silicon-lined baking sheet. Chill for at least one hour.
  4. After chilling, fill a medium sized pan 1/2 inch high with olive oil. Bring up to medium high heat before adding the goat cheese.  You can test the heat by adding a bit of breadcrumbs and see if they immediate start to sizzle and fry.
  5. In batches, fry the very cold medallions on each side until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. But every stove is different so please watch carefully!
  6. When they’re done, transfer them to a paper towel-lined dish, and serve warm.