A Journey to Italy Through Tomato Sauce: Three Regional Recipes & Their Wine Pairings
Tomato is king of the Italian table. Summer immediately brings to mind the aromas and flavors of this juicy fruit which, come September, will be processed to make purees and preserves to last throughout the year. Fortunately, there are still many areas of Italy where the tradition of homemade sauce is still alive: from Emilia Romagna to Sicily; from Tuscany to Campania, each region has its own peculiarities. Obviously, all are meant to be paired with a good glass of wine.
Emilia Romagna – Friggione
Friggione, a native recipe of Emilia Romagna, is the perfect expression of the saying “making virtue of necessity”. The Emilian peasants once re-energized themselves after hard work in the fields, by having lunch with this this succulent dish based on onions and peeled tomato sauce. The onions in this dish were left to stew for a long time in lard, tomato, a pinch of sugar and coarse salt. That’s all. The rest of the dish consisted of a long dose of dedication and patience, given the long cooking time – a Friggione prepared in less than four hours is simply not a true Friggione! What wine to pair with this dish? No doubt our Chianti Classico, with its aromas of fleshy red fruit and its good structure, which admirably supports every spoonful of Friggione. The spicy component of this dish aslo goes well with the particularly sweet and aromatic taste of onion.
Tuscany – Pici with Tuscan Ragù Sauce
Southern Tuscany, more particularly in the province of Siena, hides gastronomic gems that are worth a trip to Italy. Pici with Tuscan Ragù Sauce is one of these gems. This dish is made with minced Chianina beef, minced pork, sausages, tomatoes and typical ragù ingredients such as celery, carrots, onions, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and red wine. It goes without saying that the pasta used for this dish can be none other than picio – typical of Siena. It is rolled with water and flour and then seasoned with the most varied traditional sauces. We suggest our Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva as a pairing to this dish as it is a full-bodied wine, with perfect balance and goes wonderfully with the strong and succulent flavors of the ragù. This is a gastronomic journey that will take you to the heights of taste.
Campania – Pizza Margherita
Let’s take a trip to Southern Italy where tomato is very popular, but the recipe is slightly different. From pasta and bread we move on to pizza, one of Italy’s pride and joys. Pizza Margherita is one of the simplest (at least in terms of ingredients) and tastiest preparations imaginable – tomato puree (or whole tomato cut “into fillets”, for those who prefer it), fiordilatte or buffalo mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil of olive, grated cheese and basil. The key to this dish is the pizza dough, which must be very well hydrated and leavened without overdoing it. The wine pairing? For those who love rosé wines, we cannot fail to propose our Dogajolo Rosato. It is fresh, balanced, fragrant and with a good structure. It gives its best with a recipe as satisfying as pizza. Turning instead to whites, we could even go so far as to recommend a bubbly wine such as our Farnito Brut – perfect with the buffalo mozzarella.