Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chianti and Mushrooms

An improvised dinner late last week turned out to be a happy event. Being rushed in the morning no one took anything out of the freezer to thaw for dinner.  The weather still being bad no one stopped to get anything on the way home from work.  We took what was fresh and that was a package of Cremini mushrooms and we grabbed some pasta from the cabinet.  While the pasta boiled we sauteed some pancetta until crisp in a cast iron skillet.  We drained the oil and added some duck fat to the pan and in went the roughly chopped mushrooms and a pinch of thyme.  At the end we added some garlic.  Finally we added a little heavy cream and a good dose of mascarpone cheese and some grated Pecorino Romano.  When the pasta was done it was added to the skillet as well.  Rich, warm, rewarding and just plain good.

The wine was a 2006 Felsina Chianti Classico.  The nose was rich with dried, tart cherries, a little Tuscan earthiness and a hint of spice.  Of medium weight and body, the wine tasted of those cherries and had some wonderful depth to it.  The finish was dry and tart and left a great taste of cherry at the very end.  The acid cut through the richness of the pasta sauce and the earthiness in the wine played nice with that same taste in the mushrooms.  This was a good pairing that briefly took us from cold and snowy Ohio to a warm and gentle Italian wine region, rather like a quick mini-vacation.  13% alcohol and $21.

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