After a long break, I am ready to pick of up virtual “World Tour of Wine,” and what better place to start than Italy and a large dinner with Mi Familia.
My brother, Seth and I decided to do a dinner featuring a bottle of 2009 Chianti Classico Casalino. And what better to pair it with than Spaghetti and Meatballs.
Chianti is one of the most well-known wines to come out of Italy. It heralds from the Chianti region of Tuscany and is comprised mainly of the Sangiovese grape, with a small percentage mixture of other red grapes. There are many sub-regions of the Chianti region, but for my beginner wine brain, that is overload.
One of my favorite Italian wine bloggers, Alfonso Cevola, recently wrote a post on the Chianti region titled “Chianti: An Elusive Arrangement, Wrapped in a Fiasco, Inside a Conundrum“. In this article, he does a great job of outlining the seven different levels of Chianti, and was my inspiration to finally write this post.
Seth had found this great recipe in Bon Appetit: “Spaghetti and Meatballs All’Amatriciana” and while the recipe originated from a town called Amatrice (a town northeast of Rome), it was a delicious meal and complimented the wine perfectly.
The 2009 Chianti Classico Casalino was the perfect mixture of spice and fruit. Beautiful dark red in color, the wine had a nose of spice and berries. The palette had a touch of leather, as well as a bite of spice and fruit, ending in almost a light raspberry. The spice complimented the smokey bacon in the dish perfectly and held up nicely against the robust pasta sauce.
What I loved most about our dinner wasn’t necessarily the wine (although it was terrific) or the food (which was pretty darn tasty), but the overall experience of cooking and eating the meal.
This meal did one of my favorite things – it took a bunch of fresh, vibrant foods and turned them into a delicious feast.
It was also a process. First we had to make the meatballs, letting them rest before any cooking began. The sauce was cooked in the same pot as the meatballs, allowing the onions and garlic to soak up the drippings from the meat, which softening the flavor of the onion.
I have to admit, I do not like bacon (I am strange, I know), but to my surprise, the bacon did not overpower the dish, or make it too rich. The flavorful sauce was a nice counter to the meatballs, making it all quite delicious.
By having to take time to make the meal, it gave us a chance to talk and laugh. The payoff was well worth the time to cook and it added to the fun of the weekend.