Wine, Cheese, and Quarantines
BY Tom Yates
We all want something special, romantic, and memorable for Valentine’s whether we’re locked down, quarantined, or out on the town. I totally get the hype and the hope. And while I’m down with the glitz, glam, and hoopla of a big night out, I’m also perfectly content with a simple low key riff on wine and cheese at home.
Drunken Red Wine Spaghetti With Gorgonzola Mousse
Spaghetti cooked in red wine brings sexy to the table.
Whip It Up.
After bringing 6 ounces gorgonzola and 3 ounces cream cheese to room temperature, I used an old fashioned hand held mixer to whip them together until fully combined and set the mix aside.
Working with a chilled bowl and whisk on a stand mixer, I whipped 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream until soft peaks formed before adding 1 tablespoon sherry. When the whipped cream formed stiff peaks, I gently folded the creamed gorgonzola into the whipped cream until it almost floated off my spatula, covered the mousse with plastic wrap, and set it aside.
Lady And The Tramp.
Spaghetti. Plain old dried spaghetti. That’s the happy dance here. As much as I love making fresh pasta, scratch made pasta doesn’t work with this method. It cooks too quickly. Dried spaghetti needs time to absorb the wine as it cooks while remaining al dente. Total win.
With a bit of pot-juggling, drunken spaghetti is simple and quick. Little effort. Big payoff.
Working over a medium flame, I sauteed 2 minced shallots in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wide high-sided saute pan. When the shallots turned translucent, I added 2 minced garlic cloves, a pinch of dried red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, salt, and cracked black pepper. After letting the garlic release into the oil, I hit the pan with a full bottle (750ml) of Cabernet-Sauvignon.
While the aromatic wine did its thing, I filled a large stock pot with water and brought it to a rolling boil before adding a handful of salt and 1 pound dried spaghetti. After 3 minutes, I drained the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water, and feathered it into the simmering red wine. Once added to the wine, I cranked the heat to high and boiled the pasta for 6-8 minutes until tender (yet, still al dente) and the pasta absorbed the wine. After adding 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water and 1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, I pulled the pasta from the heat and downed a glass of comforting Cabernet.
While the pasta was still warm, I used a large carving fork to twirl it into shape, piped the gorgonzola mousse to the side, and nestled prosciutto-wrapped fresh Bartlett pears into the mousse before finishing with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, fresh parsley, and flaked sea salt.
Infused and stained with red wine, the pasta popped with robust earthy undertones. The creamy mousse softened and swirled through the drunken spaghetti, tempering the tinge of heat from the red pepper flakes. While the parsley and olive oil added fruity grassiness. The prosciutto-wrapped pears provided a salty fresh crunch.
A little wine and cheese.
A little unexpected.
This article also appears on page 16 of the February 2022 print edition of Ace.
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