Food & Drink
The Two Wines You Need on the Table at Festive Gatherings
Perfectly made for hosting and toasting.
by : ELLE Canada- Nov 16th, 2010
If you had to narrow it down, having all your favourite people in one room—being together, laughing, revelling in the festive spirit—would surely top the most unforgettable moments of the holiday season. The best parts of life are shared, right? That’s the philosophy behind Ruffino, a Tuscan Wine Estate producing a thoughtful collection of varietals, from refined bubbly and elegant aperitifs to full-bodied reds. The brand calls this approach vivere di gusto, a phrase that invites you to embrace every moment to its fullest. That is, after all, the Italian way of life.
It turns out, we’re all longing for a piece of this passion. According to a new study, two-thirds of Canadians want to liven up their holiday menus by drawing upon Italian inspiration. Whether you’re hosting a multi-course meal for your nearest and dearest or sharing an appetizer during an intimate festive catch-up, there’s a Ruffino wine that’s ideal for pairing with it (but also delightfully sippable on its own). Consider the Toscana IGT Modus. A vibrant blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this bold red—rich in silky tannins and bursting with stone-fruit notes—makes a classic match for a light pasta. Ruffino’s crisp, clean Prosecco is another standout pick: Teeming with fine bubbles and intense apple flavours, it’s made for imbibing alongside a seafood starter.
To help you curate the ideal Italian-inspired holiday experience, Ruffino tapped revered Montréal-based chef Massimo Piedimonte, who shares two creative recipes that pair perfectly with Ruffino’s lineup of contemporary wines.
Stuffed Mussels Topped With Saffron Sauce
Serves 4-6 people
Pair with Ruffino’s Prosecco DOC
Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F.
3 kg fresh mussels
100 g shallots
200 mL Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio wine
30 g carrots
30 g celery
30 g onions
20 g capers
10 g parsley
10 g breadcrumbs
1) Scrub your mussels with a vegetable brush as you rinse them under cold running water—you’ll want to ensure that the exteriors are debearded* and clean since this dish will be served in the shells. Discard any mussels with broken shells.
2) Place a pan over high heat and coat it with the oil of your choice—we recommend olive oil.
3) Sweat your shallots until they are translucent, then add in your wine.
4) Once the wine starts simmering, add the mussels. Cover tightly and steam until all the mussels have opened, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.
5) Finely dice the aromatic ingredients: carrots, celery and onions.
6) Coat a saucepan with olive oil over medium heat and sauté the aromatics until cooked. Set aside to cool.
7) By now, the mussels should be done steaming. Strain the mussels, keeping the cooking liquid.
8) Separate the mussels from their shells and let them cool down so they are easier to work with.
9) Rinse the mussel shells and set them aside.
10) Return the cooking liquid to the pan over medium heat and reduce until it thickens to form a glaze, stirring constantly.
11) Roughly chop the mussels and capers, and finely chop the parsley.
12) Combine the mussels, aromatics, capers, parsley and glaze to form a filling.
13) Fill the open mussel shells with your mixture and top with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs.
14) Arrange your mussels on a baking sheet in rows.
15) Grill in the oven for 2 minutes at 350°F.
*The “beard” of a mussel is the lump of “threads” that hold the mussel to surfaces. Mussels are often sold already debearded and cleaned. However, if your mussels are still bearded, it’s important to remove this during the cleaning process.
400 g Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio wine
1 g saffron
6 g salt
10 g lemon juice
45 g cold butter
1) Bring wine, saffron, salt and lemon juice to a boil in a saucepan.
2) Bring the sauce down to a simmer and remove it from the heat before adding in the butter—this will ensure that the butter does not split.
3) Once the butter is fully incorporated, use a hand-held immersion blender to blend and aerate your sauce until bubbles form on the surface.
4) Once the mussels are out of the oven, add the delicate and airy saffron sauce to each one.
5) Enjoy warm.
Anolini di Branzino con Pappa al Pomodoro (Branzino-Stuffed Anolini in a Hearty Tuscan Tomato and Bread Sauce
Serves 4-6 people
Pair with Ruffino’s Toscana IGT Modus
270 g 00 flour
6 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1) Mound the flour and salt mixture in the centre of your cutting board or bowl and make a well in the middle.
2) Beat your 6 egg yolks and 1 whole egg in a bowl—this will be your wet mixture.
3) Pour the wet mixture into the well.
4) Using a fork, bring the flour into the wet ingredients, starting with the inner rim of the well. Keep bringing more flour into the egg mixture until all the egg is completely absorbed into the flour.
5) The dough will form a shaggy mass. Using your hands, pull the dough together.
6) If you find that your dough is sticky, add a little extra flour until it’s kneadable. Use additional flour sparingly or your pasta will become tough.
7) Knead your dough for 15 minutes, until it is smooth and slightly tacky.
8) Form it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes.
1 kg branzino
800 g cream
400 g egg whites
30 g salt
1) Blend all the ingredients together until they form a mousse.
2) Place in a piping bag and set aside.
1) Roll out your pasta dough using a pasta maker.
2) Add about a teaspoon of filling to the centre of your dough strip at intervals.
3) Top with another sheet of pasta.
4) If you are using a metal pasta cutter—which may be round or have serrated edges—the pressure from the cutter will likely seal the edges of the pasta together. If not, you’ll want to gently press around your filling to ensure all the edges are sealed.
5) Cut out your anolini. Set aside.
Pappa al Pomodoro (Tuscan Tomato Bread Sauce)
1 leek (the white part of the stalk)
2 cloves of garlic
6 basil leaves
120 g of stale Tuscan bread, torn into chunks
1) In a large saucepan, sweat sliced leeks, chopped garlic and basil stems in some olive oil.
2) Add in diced tomatoes and, once incorporated, the hearty chunks of stale bread.
3) Simmer your sauce low and slow—for about 3 hours—stirring occasionally to ensure that your sauce doesn’t over-reduce and/or burn.
Once your sauce is finished, boil the anolini in salted water. You’ll know they’re finished when they float to the top and are al dente.
Serve your anolini with a generous spoonful of your sauce, topped with basil leaves.
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