Last night we wanted to open up a special bottle and pair it with a nice meal, so we chose a Barolo we had gotten over the summer in Italy.
I decided to pair it with crimini mushrooms in a Bechamel sauce over toast, and artichokes with a lemon-butter sauce. They say artichokes don’t pair with wine well, but I found this to work –perhaps because it was an Italian wine, and those are known for being food-friendly.
This was a nice pairing–Bechamel sauce works well with Barolo. The only thing I’d do differently would be to use a more homemade or healthy bread. My first serving was sourdough (great), but for my second serving I used half a whole-wheat Oroweat English muffin, and the sugar in it competed with the wine. But the sauce itself goes great, just don’t overdo it on the nutmeg.
The wine smelled like peanut brittle, raisins, licorice, and horse saddle, and it had a good length to it. It was definitely a special wine.
If you choose to try this dinner, it would go with any Piemontese red: Barolo, Barbera, Dolcetto or Barbaresco. It would go well with a white from that area, too: try it with Arneis. It can be made vegan, by subbing margarine and vegan milk. (Try vegan creamer for richness).
1 lemon, 2 artichokes, salt, pepper, nutmeg, butter or margarine, 2-3 cups crimini mushrooms (sliced), 2 tbsp. flour, sliced bread, 1 1/4 cups milk or vegan milk, olive oil
- Fill large pot with several inches of water. Put in several pinches of salt, and squeeze half a lemon in the water. Throw the rind in the water. Insert steamer basket and place two artichokes spiked side down on top, cover with lid. Steam on high 25-35 minutes.
- Heat milk on low in small saucepan. Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook for a couple of minutes over medium heat. When milk is hot, whisk into flour mixture in batches. Add a couple pinches of salt, a few grinds pepper, and a couple pinches of nutmeg. Whisk frequently for 2-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Sautee crimini mushrooms in 1-2 tbsp. olive oil or butter until tender and cooked through. Add mushrooms to Bechamel sauce. Stir together for a couple of minutes.
- A few minutes before cooking is done, make a sauce for the artichokes by whisking together remaining lemon juice and a little melted butter.
- Serve mushrooms over toasted bread, with artichokes on the side.
It’s delicious! And an excellent use of a few simple farmers’ market ingredients–spring is the season for artichokes.
What would you pair with Barolo? Or what would you pair with artichokes and Bechamel mushrooms?