I’m so excited about this new series! Tami and I often chat about what we’re cooking and eating and what wine we’re drinking with it. We’re both keen cooks married to men who are interested in wine. In my house, we quite often choose what we’re eating based on a bottle of wine we want to drink or I’ll describe what I’m cooking and Matthew disappears off to pick a bottle to go with it.
Tami came up with a great idea for this series of blog posts. We’re both cooking the same dish, and the men are choosing a bottle of wine to go with it. No discussions or consultations – then afterwards we’re both going to write up the food and get the men to write up what they chose and how it matched. I hope readers will be interested in this; especially because it’s quite difficult to get good guidance about wine to match with vegan food. All too often wine writers suggest weedy whites because they have no idea about the flavours that can be involved in vegan cooking.
We decided to pick something from the second Horizons book first off, because we both have it and like it but haven’t made much from it. The dish we chose was Pasta with Ground Seitan and Porcini Mushroom sauce. It looked tasty and hearty with lots of herbs.
I approached the recipe with caution because my limited experience with both of the Horizons books has taught me that the recipes are tasty but not especially well written or tested. I immediately got angry that the pasta weight was based on cooked pasta not dry, which meant that I had to guess at how much dried to start with (I wildly overguessed, but from that experience I would suggest that about 7oz dried spaghetti will give you 1lb). I also didn’t use the stock, because the sauce was very liquidy without it. My final alteration was to lower the amount of seitan a bit; we’re greedy but 1lb of seitan seemed a lot for 2-3 servings.
None of my changes affected the flavours though, and that’s what this exercise was all about. I enjoyed the pasta a lot and would definitely make it again. It was hearty and flavoursome and the whole house smelt of Italy while it was cooking.
On to the wine.
(Picture taken from Vintage Roots website)
Here’s Matthew’s verdict:
We ate the dish with a 2009 organic Tenuta del Barco Palmento Primitivo, made by Barone Pizzini, which we got from Vintage Roots for £10.99. Tenuta del Barco is in Puglia, the heel of Italy. The wine was sumptious and a good match. A lot of Southern Italian Primitivo is quite in your face. The heat produces huge gamey, prune and chocolate tasting numbers which are very high in alcohol. This one was much subtler. Like most good organic wines it was very clean, with none of the rough edges of most Primitivo, and it had a gorgeous herby undertone which matched the herbiness of the pasta perfectly. At the same time the grape was big enough to stand up to the challenges of seitan and porcini mushrooms, and it’s often a mistake to stray too far from Italy for wine when eating pasta. Other wines that might have worked: a good Chianti Classico, or possibly a Merlot from the south of France, such as VDP d’Oc Merlot Clos de Barbejo, another favourite from Vintage Roots.
This was a very enjoyable challenge. It’s always good to get to know a cookbook better. It was great to get Matthew involved in the blog and use his expertise, and it was great fun knowing that on the other side of the world friends were going through the same process. Unfortunately, we don’t get access to the same wines, otherwise I’d have loved to have a taste off between the two bottles and see which went best!