Saturday, January 10, 2015

Typical dishes and wine pairings from Puglia

Welcome to 2015 wine and food lovers! I can't believe it, but this is our 8th Wine Pairing Weekend. I'm not one for making New Years Resolutions, but this months Wine Pairing Weekend event's theme is just that so it made me contemplate what I would like to focus on this year in the world of wine. 

In efforts to become an Italian wine expert my focus at all times is consistently exploring each region and different grapes. Writing an Italian wine blog obviously gives away the fact that my new years resolution will be Italian wine related, but this year I would love to explore southern Italy more as its the area that I have traveled to personally the least so I'm more intrigued by the land, the food traditions and of course the wine. 

 Southern Italy has made a lot of advancements in winemaking bringing back grapes that were almost extinct, lowering yields, introducing modern winemaking techniques. Italy as a whole can be overwhelming and it's almost impossible to be able to know all the hundreds of grape varieties grown throughout the country.



Puglia is a very flat and fertile land and best known for their bread production, olive oil and wine. Some of the best wine values are coming out of Italy and Puglia is definitely one of those regions. They are the highest wine production region in Italy alongside the Veneto region in northeastern Italy. In this region the majority of the wines you will find are red based that include grapes such as primitivo, negroamaro, uva di troia, malvasia nera, bombino nero, susumaniello, etc. For white grapes you'll see mostly bombino bianco, trebbiano toscano, verdeca, bianco d'alessano, etc.



Today I'm sharing with you a typical Pugliese dish including orecchiette with broccoli rabe known as orecchiette con la cima di rape. Today I'm replacing the orecchiette with another type of pasta as I actually had difficulty tracking down some orecchiette due to my lack of time. Due to the rich mineral soils in Puglia there are also a large amount of vegetables grown in this region such as eggplant, artichokes, fennel, tomatoes, etc. I also prepared as a side dish, contorni, a baked eggplant. All pretty simple dishes as a lot of Italian dishes can be, but full of flavor.  

I'm also recommending you take a look at another classic dish from Puglia, which would also be a lovely pairing with Primitivo from Marla's site, Bella Baita View, where she prepared homemade orecchiette made with braciole, which is a meat rolled in sauce.  As you'll see from her story it was prepared for a group of tunnel workers with some from Bari in Puglia that were helping to relieve some of the traffic for the 2006 Olympics held in Torino.  



You'll want to get the eggplant started first since it will take a little longer to bake in the overn for about 40-45 minutes.



Baked Eggplant

  • Set oven to 375 degrees
  • Slice eggplant the long way and brush with olive oil and salt
  • Top eggplant with a dusting of bread crumbs and then top with either fresh tomatoes or diced tomatoes. Retop with a dusting more of bread crumbs
  • Place in oven for about 40-45 minutes.
  • Optional to add some fresh mozzarella to the top and rebake until cheese is melted or else top with extra virgin olive oil

    Baked eggplant


Orecchiette with broccoli rabe / Orecchiette con la cima di rape

  • Boil pasta with salt added to the water
  • Saute garlic and oil in separate pan for preparation
  • Add the broccoli rabe to the boiling water with stems removed until softened
  • Remove broccoli rabe and add to garlic/oil mixture and saute together with cannellini beans
  • Add pasta to boiling water and cook to desired al dente time.
  • Remove pasta from water and add to saute pan and mixed with other ingredients
  • Top with fresh grated parmigiano

    Broccoli Rabi with Cannellini beans

    Baked eggplant from Puglia


Orecchiette con la cima

I chose to pair a primitivo with this dish, which is the most popular red grape of the region. I chose a value wine from this region that I had a tasting, which I got for about $12 a bottle. The wine is a 2011 Seratina Primitivo I.G.T. Primitivo for those of you don't know is actually related to a zinfandel and we're not talking white zin here folks, red zinfandel! This Seratina Primitivo was a fuller bodied wine paired with good acidity and deep blackberry notes. It had ripe fruit that showed well in the pairing with this dish ending with a nice finish. 

Orecchiette with broccoli rabi and Seratina Primitivo


Join the rest of the other #WinePW bloggers on their resolutions!



Sue from It’s Okay to Eat the Cupcake is pairing “Fiery Red & Icy White” - will the wine be red or white?


Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla has Argentina on her mind and is sharing “Empanadas Mendocinas + ’10 La Posta del Vi Ratero Malbec”.


Cindy of Grape Experience suggests starting the year with “Wine & Dine: Fontana Candida Terre de Grife 2012 Frascati & Slow Cooker Artichoke Dip”.


Shaina of Take A Bite Out of Boca is offering “Herb Marinated Mushrooms with Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon”.


William of Wild For Washington Wine is giving us “ A Resolution for Greek Wine, A Recipe for Avogolemeno”.


Martin from Enoflyz Wine Blog is shaking things up with “Skillet Kale Pasta & Seitan Pizza with Querceto Chianti Classico” 


Jade from Tasting Pour is pairing “Halter Ranch GSM and Duck with Cherry Sauce”.


Sarah that Curious Cuisiniere brings us “Chicken Cacciatore & Washington Merlot”.


Wendy from A Day on the Life of the Farm has a “New Year’s Wine Resolution of Prime Rib Roast with 2010 Cotes de Bourg”.


David of Cooking Chat Food is going Greek with “Greek Lamb Stew & Wine Pairing”.


Jeff from food wine click is focusing on “Wine & Food Resolution 2015: Italy Deep Dive”.


Michelle from Rockin Red Blog will be tempting us “My 2015 Wine Resolution: Diversity!”


And well, over here at Confessions of a Culinary Diva, we are focusing on the “Rhone Rangers & Paul Bocuse”.


Don’t forget to join us for our Twitter Chat on Saturday, January 10th at 8 a.m. using hashtag #winePW.