Wine and Food Pairings

Wine and Food Pairings

Ham, lamb, and vegetarian fare are all popular choices when Spring arrives. And, conveniently, they all pair nicely with Villa del Monte wines. Susan Ward Tarner, host of a featured cooking show on Helena Civic Television called Cooking with Susan, Slow Food, Montana Style, has paired Villa del Monte wines with some of her favorite Spring recipes. 

Lamb and Figs
Enjoy with Villa del Monte Pinot Reserve

White Lasagna with Pine Nuts
Delicious with Villa del Monte Chardonnay

Sour Cream Lemon Pie
Pairs nicely with Villa del Monte Chardonnay

Layered Blueberry Salad
Serve with Villa del Monte Syrah Rosé

Brown Sugar Mustard Glaze with Crystallized Ginger for Ham
Try this with Villa del Monte Merlot

Escalloped Pineapple
Serve with Villa del Monte Chardonnay

Lamb and Figs
Rack of lamb, lamb chops or lamb roast (5 to 6 lb.), fat trimmed
1 tablespoon fresh or dried rosemary
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 jar fig preserves or fig jam
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup whipping cream

Rinse lamb and pat dry. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set in a shallow 10” by 15” pan. Rub rosemary all over meat, and sprinkle with lemon pepper.  Spoon fig preserves over lamb, covering well. Pour vinegar directly into pan.

Bake at 400° until a thermometer inserted through thickest part of meat to the bone reaches 130°, about 1 1/2 hours depending on type of lamb cooked.  As liquid evaporates, add water to pan to prevent scorching. Watch to make sure fig preserves do not scorch, cover with foil if it starts to burn.

Transfer roast and fruit to a platter and keep warm. Add enough broth to pan to make about 3/4 cup juices total, then add cream. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring to release browned bits. Pour into a small bowl or pitcher.

Slice lamb and serve meat with pan juice gravy.

White Lasagna with Pine Nuts
1 cup pine nuts
1 10-ounce package of fresh or frozen spinach, thawed if frozen
3 cups ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3 cups diced mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/4 pound of prosciutto, diced into pieces
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper

White Sauce:
4 cups milk
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1½ teaspoons minced sage

1 box lasagna noodles – cooked and drained

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool. Steam fresh spinach until wilted and drain or thaw frozen spinach and drain well. Squeeze out as much water from spinach as possible and then chop into small pieces.

Combine spinach and pine nuts in a large bowl. Beat in eggs. Add remaining filling ingredients and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate.

To make white sauce, scald milk by pouring it into a large saucepan and bringing it just to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside. In large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and stir in flour with wooden spoon to make a roux. Stir in milk, salt and nutmeg and cook, stirring until sauce thickens, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove sauce from the heat and stir in sage. Cover and keep warm.

Cook and drain lasagna noodles. Once cooled – you can start putting the lasagna together.

To assemble the lasagna, pour ½ cup of the white sauce into a 9” X 13” pan.  Cover with a layer of the lasagna noodles and spread about 2 cups of the filling over the noodles.  Spoon on a thin layer of the sauce and repeat with noodles and filling twice more.  Finish with layer of sauce over the noodles and sprinkle with cheese.  Cover with foil.  Bake for 30 minutes and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Sour Cream Lemon Pie
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup whole milk
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup sour cream
1 9-inch baked pie shell

Mix sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan.  Whisk in milk until smooth.  Blend in yolks. Stir in lemon peel and juice. Add butter and whisk constantly over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, just until boiling. Remove from heat and stir for one additional minute. Cover with plastic wrap to keep a skin from forming on custard.  Cool to room temperature.  Once cooled, blend in sour cream and pour into pie shell. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 6 hours or up to 2 days. Before serving, garnish with whipped cream, lemon slices and fresh mint sprigs.

Layered Blueberry Salad
2 3-ounce packages raspberry gelatin
3 cups hot water
1 envelope plain gelatin
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 cup coffee cream or half and half
1 can blueberries and juice, not pie filling
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Layer 1: Dissolve 1 package of raspberry gelatin in 2 cups of hot water. Pour into 8” x 12” pan. Chill until firm.

Layer 2: Soften plain gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water. Heat coffee cream with 1 cup sugar. Add gelatin, vanilla, cream cheese and nuts.  Mix until smooth. Spread on top of layer 1. Chill until firm.

Layer 3: Dissolve 1 package raspberry gelatin in 1 cup hot water. Add can of blueberries and juice. Spread on top of layer 2. Chill until firm.

Cut into pieces and serve as salad with meal or as dessert.

Brown Sugar Mustard Glaze with Crystallized Ginger for Ham
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup plain mustard
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped

Mix brown sugar and mustard in a large glass bowl.  Add crystallized ginger.  Pour half of glaze over the top of ham and cook ham as directed. Once ham is cooked, turn oven off and let ham remain in the oven to finish warming.  Pour remaining glaze over ham and let glaze warm.

Remove from oven and slice ham to serve.

Escalloped Pineapple
1/2 pound butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 20-ounce can of chunk pineapple with juice
1/2 cup milk
1 quart bread cubes – 5 to 6 slices

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and beat until blended. Add pineapple with juice, milk, bread and stir.  Pour mixture into 2 quart casserole. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Serve with Glazed Ham.

While growing up in Georgia, Susan Ward Tarner learned to cook from an expert, her “mama.” She now lives in Montana with her husband and teenage daughter where she enjoys combining food history and culture with locally grown and produced ingredients. Susan hopes to inspire everyone to challenge their cooking abilities and palates.