The Winter vegetable garden: recipes and pairings

Winter in the garden is certainly less “colorful” and hospitable than that of warmer months. This does not mean that this cold season has no aromas and flavors to share – quite the opposite. There are vegetables that resist winter frosts and give us robust dishes, with well-marked scents and flavors that lend themselves to full-bodied and versatile recipes – for wine lovers this is a call to unique pairings. Enrich the winter table with wine and food while we wait for the rebirth of Spring.

Pork fillet with red chicory

This is a persistent and intense vegetable, full of taste and appreciated practically throughout all of Italy. Cultivated since the 1500s, red chicory fills the vegetable shops and markets in winter. Rich in antioxidants and mineral salts, it lends itself to recipes of great structure and thickness, from lasagna to risotto to meat dishes. And here is where our pairing comes into play – red chicory with pork fillet.

The preparation of this deish is quite simple – brown the fillet in a just drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a pan. While the fillet is cooking, cut the red chicory into strips and sauté with just a bit of butter and a minced onion. Once the vegetable has wilted, combine it all in the pan with the fillet. Fry for a few minutes and then add – to give crunchiness – chopped pine nuts and of course, a glass of good red wine. Season with salt and pepper and then serve this soft and succulent dish with our Dogajolo Rosato wine. This Sangiovese-based wine has good body, great olfactory depth; it is intense and persistent, with a marked acidity and fruity and floral scents that perfectly balance the marked flavors and succulence of this dish.

Orecchiette pasta with broccoletti and sausage

Broccoletti, also known as broccoli rabe, is the king of vegetables when it comes to the winter table. Appreciated throughout most of the Italian peninsula, in particular in the southern regions, this recipe of Apulian origin has become a national gastronomic heritage. The preparation is fairly simple – broccoli is blanched while the sausage is browned in oil, garlic and chili pepper. Once the broccoletti are done being cooked, they are added to the sausage pan and season with salt. It is one of those dishes that is simple and delicious – an ideal first course that is sure to impress.

It is after all, in simplicity that the most surprising combinations are found. The wine pairing for this dish is a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, a Carpineto Farnito to be exact. This wine is a pure blend that comes from our estate in Montepulciano, rich in body, structure and persistence, with solid but well-polished tannins, which will admirably accompany the minerality of the broccoli, the boldness of the sausage, the tendency towards sweetness of the dish and its savory elements if you want to add Pecorino cheese as a finish.

Cavolo strascicato, Tuscan braised cabagge

We must finish with a typical recipe from our region – Tuscany. This dish respects the tradition of regional popular cuisine, made up of once peasant recipes that are now considered some of the tastiest and heartiest recipes of them all. The ingredients are few: cabbage, black olives, tomato and – for those who want even more substance to the dish – minced sausage. For those, on the other hand, who are vegetarian or vegan, the shredded cabbage can be eaten alone, without meat.

Once your cabbage is cleaned, it is boiled for about 10 minutes. While it is cooking, we brown the sausage in plenty of oil together with a clove of garlic in a pan. Add the cooked cabbage, peeled tomatoes and olives and brown for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper, and then you are ready to serve your dish hot. As for the wine… a glass with a good structure, warm, soft and fruity is perfect for this dish – a good bottle of Carpineto Chianti Classico is ideal an ideal accompaniment.

These are just some of the winter recipes you can try your hand at. Because of their great versatility, winter vegetables lend themselves to many preparations: omelettes, flans, pastas, side dishes. An almost infinite variety to match, from time to time, the wine that best suits your palate and the characteristics of the recipe.