T H A N K S F O R T H E F O L L O W ellesaysynot!
When it comes to cooking for a big group and making everyone really happy, the Italians nailed it when they came up with lasagna. That whole noodles-ragù-béchamel (or noodles-ricotta-tomato sauce-sausage, if you want to Americanize it) combo is hard to beat. The crispy edges at the sides of the dish are addictive, and the stuff is just dead-simple to make. And it goes great with red wine, ideally one with reasonable acidity and tannins to cut through all that richness.
Any substantial southern Italian red could do the trick, but a couple of good bargains are the plummy 2010 Cusumano Nero D’Avola ($11) and the powerful 2010 Feudi di San Marzano “Sud” Primitivo di Puglia ($12).
Moussaka isn’t all that different from lasagna as a pairing proposition, but it does give a nice excuse to delve into the world of Greek wines. Over the past decade or so there’s been an exciting boom in both quality and ambition in the Greek wine world, and some of the bottles coming out of the country right now are truly terrific. Plus, the Greek economy could use your help.
With this dish, and really with lamb of any sort, red wines made from the spicy, full-bodied Agiorgitiko grape are a great choice, like the peppery 2010 Gai’a Agiogitiko Notios ($13) or the robust 2009 Palivou Agiorgitiko ($15).
Turkey casserole is by nature largely anonymous - at least I’ve never had one that made me jump up and say “Wow!” - but it also has that Zelig-like ability to turn up everywhere. That being the case, why not pair it with a wine that can supply some personality; as with some married guests, the lively, fun half will make the bland, boring half actually seem rather tolerable.
I lean toward the Rhône white varietal duo of Marsanne and Roussanne, with their stone-fruit notes and subtle florality. Two too look for: the vibrant 2010 Qupé Marsanne ($15), from California’s Santa Ynez Valley, and the juicy 2010 Mas Carlot Marsanne-Roussanne ($12), from southern France.
By which I mean the classic King Ranch Chicken Casserole, which is required eating for all Texans at some point during their lives; but let’s just say any casserole involving classic Tex-Mex ingredients. That means peppers (poblano, for instance), chopped green chiles, chile powder, cumin (it ain’t Tex-Mex without cumin), tortillas, jack cheese, sour cream, and so forth.
What you want is a wine that doesn’t mind a bit of heat from the spices, and that can handle the fat from the cheese/sour cream/etc. And you want red, because white with Tex-Mex just seems wimpy. Babcock’s spicy 2010 Under the Radar Syrah is a great choice ($14), and so is Bonny Doon’s complex, aromatic “Le Pousseur” Syrah ($20)
Author, Ray Isle
Article via Eatocracy